Thursday, February 23, 2017

Never Alone and Ones and Zeros - 48 Hour Film Project

Last year, Josie had the pleasure of working with Jon Lecouris (a local musician and film director) on a 48 Hour Film Project. You can see it here. This was our first involvement in the project. It was so much fun! Each team (there were about nine last year and this year) gets a prop, a line, and a character at 7pm on a Friday night. They have until Sunday at 7pm to submit a finished film with these three components included. It is pretty cool so see how different the ideas are when given the same prop, line, and character. 

This year, Parker was included in a team (the director, Thomas Polk, who directed Parker's screen play, Star Prince was the captain of the team) from the inception so he got to stay up until 1:00 or so in the morning coming up with plot lines, helped with every stage of the project except for editing. Dema and I found out late Friday night that Rachel Berry (the director for Fast Rodney, Who Was On His Way Out) cast us in her film. She sent me the script first thing Saturday morning and we spent all day Saturday on set filming. It is so intense and fun!

Remember, these aren't super polished films since we only have 48 hours from start to finish, but it is a great exercise in getting something together in a short time.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sewing, Curry, and Islam

Life Skills:

Sewing is one of those very helpful life skills, especially for parents of theater kids, that my mom could have taught me, but she hated to sew herself so she never did. I've tried to learn a couple other times from friends, while they taught Parker, and it always frustrated me. I did some sewing in Girl Scouts when I was about Josie's age and ended up being a disaster. I was one of those kids who likes to be good at something immediately and without much effort. Getting good grades was that way for me and so was playing the clarinet, but sewing wasn't something I could just sit down and excel. Rob sews a bit and Parker remembers how to sew from when he was little. Recently, our sweet and patient neighbor offered to teach us all so I quickly took her up on it!
Vicky watching Josie work on her stitches.
Dema wasn't at all interested, but since the rest of us were going, he thought he'd go to Vicky's and pet her cat. He ended up loving sewing. He's got a lot of gangly self-conscious pre-teen energy so he wasn't the most graceful, but he really is eager to learn more!
Vicky showing Dema how to deal with thread issues.
I bought some green curry paste the other day from our local store, World Harvest, and now I can't stop making different green curry based meals. This one has brown rice, tofu, sweet peas, and broccoli rabe. Parker and I could eat curry every day, but Josie grows tired of curries and prefers beans and rice so I've been making quite of lot of burrito/bean bowl type meals too.

Activist Snippet: The year Parker was born, 2000, I read a lot. I was fortunate enough to be able to stay home with my kids for the last 17 years, but it took some getting used to since I'd had at least one full-time job and often three part-time jobs since I was 15 years old. It was weird to be home and this was before smart phones so I read a lot of books. I would nurse my newborn or lay down with him for naps and be "stuck" for hours so I had books handy everywhere around the house. It reminded me of my childhood, always having a huge stack of books bedside, reading several at a time. It was glorious! One of the authors I read in those early days of parenting, was Karen Armstrong. I have always loved to learn about religions and I find her books fascinating. It hit me today as I walked past my bookshelf that I've kept all of Karen's books even with the massive purging of books/things in our lives to get down to a more minimalistic lifestyle. It also stuck me that my 12 year old, Dema, who is currently interested in the Ottoman Empire and religion, would/should read her book Islam: A Short History. I think we might start reading it together since I last read it so many years ago. It is important to me for my kids to grow up understanding different beliefs. They had Muslim friends in their homeschooling group, Joy in Learning, and they learned about Islam a bit, but in this world of fear and misinformation, it is important to delve deeper.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Know Your Drugs, Know Your Doses Part II

It is probably pretty clear by now that I love to throw things together. I really like "clean out the pantry" meals. I had some red wine in the refrigerator and didn't feel like making risotto so I sautéed a red onion that was on sale and needed to be used immediately or composted, minced garlic, cubed a few leftover sad potatoes, and boiled them in the wine until the alcohol cooked off and the potatoes were soft. I added turmeric, black pepper, green curry paste, a bunch of kale, cubed tofu, some vegetable broth, ramen noodles, and some coconut milk. I added a bit of siracha and za'atar to mine. It was a yummy hearty meal and food didn't go to waste.


I posted five years ago about my doctor's visit and I went to the doctor for a check-up recently and decided to compare how my numbers look in my mid-40's to just turning 40. I also wanted to talk about vitamin D.

My Numbers (2 days before turning 40):
  • Blood Pressure - 102/68
  • Pulse - 72
  • Total Cholesterol - 167
  • HDL - 48
  • TC/HDL Ratio - 3.5:1 
  • LDL -110
  • Triglycerides - 43
  • Glucose -82
  • B12 -852 
My numbers now (45):
  • Blood Pressure - 108/68
  • Pulse - 67
  • Total Cholesterol - 163
  • HDL - 54
  • LDL - 90
  • Triglycerides - 93
  • Glucose - 85
  • B12 - 1183
  • D - 8.8!!!!*
*Way lower than it should be and I don't know how long it has been low because past doctors haven't wanted to check since I wasn't showing symptoms, even when I asked for it. Ugh!

I started taking vitamin D (low dose, I think it was around 600 in spray form) in winter months a couple years ago, but I never really took it religiously. I was super relaxed about it. Never again! Vitamin D is now a daily part of our routine.

Activist Snippet:

The kids, especially my 12 year old, Dema, have To Kill a Mockingbird on CD and they are listening to it over and over these days. It is on in the background as they work on math equations, it is on as they draw, it is on while they play with Legos. I realize there are some issues with this classic and it deals with racism with the white man being the "hero" of the story, but it has sparked a lot of great discussion.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Parker's 17th Birthday

Parker, my eldest, turned 17 on Sunday. It doesn't even seem possible. He and four of his friends went to a local "escape room" and had a great time then came back to our house for board games and some snacks. 
Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar Kitchen Sink Chocolate Biscotti with dried cherries and pecans.
Parker is not a huge sweets fan so he asked for biscotti instead of cake or another dessert.
Focaccia bread and samosas with mint and cilantro chutney.
 Parker loves samosas and they are easy to eat while playing games.
Clementines, chips, salsa, and guacamole.
 Parker wanted fishless tacos for the get together, but since he's the only vegan in the group and everyone was stuffed from the snacks, I made the tacos tonight.
Vegan fishless tacos.
I made the sauce out of cilantro, vegan sour cream, water, garlic, cumin, cayenne, jalapeno peppers,  lime juice, a bit of sugar, and a pinch of iodized salt. I used Gardein fishes filets, but next time I'll try tofu. Parker really loved them and I could eat anything with the sauce so I'll definitely make them again.

Parker's birth story is here. If you have little ones, hug them often. It really does fly by!