If I had more room here, I would offer an inspirational Powerpoint presentation designed just for you. In the beginning, I would seize your attention with an evocative image that my marketing department had determined would give you a visceral thrill. (Like maybe a photoshopped image of you wearing a crown and holding a scepter.) In the next part, I would describe various wonderful and beautiful things about you. Then I'd tactfully describe an aspect of your life that's underdeveloped and could use some work. I'd say, "I'd love for you to be more strategic in promoting your good ideas. I'd love for you to have a well-crafted master plan that will attract the contacts and resources necessary to lift your dream to the next level."

http://freewillastrology.com/horoscopes/libra.html
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Last night my hubby took me to see Duran Duran at The Greek Theatre in Berkeley. It was an early birthday present. In two weeks, I'll be 45. The previous time I'd seen them was 31 years ago at Madison Square Gardens. I think the seats we had last night were just as bad as the ones I had back then, only this time I brought a spy glass so I could actually see the stage.

I prepared for the show by listening to the audiobook of "Talking to Girls about Duran Duran" by Rob Sheffield. The book wasn't just about Duran Duran but it was full of 80's nostalgia and the narrator had the voice of a deejay. I ate it up. I also spent the week leading up to the concert posting song lyrics on facebook every day and I got to see who among my friends were also fans.

My memory of the first time I saw them is vague. My father had promised to take me on their next tour and I held him to it. I don't remember which of my friends went with us (Sorry ladies! I do remember going to see George Michael with my friend Katie). But last night, I felt exactly as I did in 1984. I was a screaming fan girl and I was not alone. There were at least a few thousand people at the The Greek last night. [ETA: apparently the theatre seats 8,500 people.]

Leaving the parking garage, we followed a gaggle of women who were sipping cocktails. One of them was wearing a t-shirt from Duran Duran's 1984 tour over a very short skirt and heels. "You're welcome" I told my husband. At least he could spend the evening looking at pretty people if he didn't like the music.

Standing in the t-shirt line, I was out fan-girled by most of the women there, especially the one who wore her old jean jacket with all of her fan pins. I used to have those pins! I'm sure they're somewhere at my mom's house in New York.

The second opening act was Nile Rodgers and Chic. There was a guy in front of us who was dancing his ass off having such a good time. I couldn't blame him for blocking our view (but was glad when he left for the main attraction). Nile Rodgers was happy to be on stage, having kicked cancer's ass a few years ago, playing a medley of all the top hits he'd written and/or produced. How's that for fuck cancer? Later when Duran Duran brought him out to play a few songs with them, Simon was very sincere about how grateful he was to Nile for helping their career.

Finally, here comes the band I hadn't seen in 31 years. I danced precariously on the steep lawn, grateful I'd worn sensible shoes, screaming my lungs out and singing along to nearly every song. I was also happy that I had dressed warmly. I know my fourteen-year-old self wouldn't have cared about such practical things.

I think there were only two songs I didn't recognize. There was a moment during the encores ("Save a Prayer" and "Rio", natch) when I thought of the first time I danced to a Duran Duran song with my husband. We were at an 80's night at a night club in New York City in the late 90's around the time we met. I don't remember if it was "Rio" or "Hungry Like the Wolf" or "Girls on Film" but I remember that in that moment, he made me feel as beautiful and sexy as the women in any of Duran Duran's videos. He still does.

My hubby isn't a big fan of Duran Duran's music but he understands that some of us do. He posted on his facebook last night:

"I'm at a concert, one that I was expecting to have disdain or detestation of. Rather I am finding it sweet. The audience is really enjoying themselves. The band is enjoying themselves. Even the concession Guys seem to be enjoying themselves.
This is a tribe. It's not my tribe, but a tribe nevertheless.
Duran Duran as a center
Of Joy for some folks.
Who'd a thunk"


Yeah, he gets it. I'm glad he wasn't as bored as I'd thought he would be. He has a tendency to fall asleep at concerts I take him to (Richard Thompson was the first, you guys. WTF?) but he didn't fall asleep last night.

I am a bit hoarse today from all the screaming I did. I am really tired but it was so worth it. And I want my hubby to know "It means so much to me, like a birthday or a pretty view" but just for last night, I changed the words to "like my birthday". 45 isn't so bad.
nisaa: (Default)
( Oct. 28th, 2014 12:15 am)
As I was helping friends pack for their upcoming move tonight, I found a bag with containers of protein powder covered in Playa Dust. It reminded me of this:

So, Ajax has gone to Burning Man a few times. After one of those times, I went to the kitchen one morning to make myself a protein shake. Ajax was away somewhere on business. I noticed that the protein shake didn't have much taste. He usually gets vanilla flavored but maybe this was unflavored, unsweetened?

Confused, I texted or called him to ask him what kind of protein powder it was. Maybe he got another brand and put it in the container that was on top of the fridge? He laughed and told me that it wasn't protein powder; it was Playa dust.

And so, my friends, I have ingested Burning Man and that is why I never need to go. And that's how my husband lived to die another day . . . and classify me as a saint. He also learned to put the Playa dust container in the shed after I screamed at him and said "Playa dust doesn't belong in the kitchen!!!"

FIN
I only think about writing this when I have a bad breakout. I have one now because I binged on sugar over the 4th of July holiday. I feel ugly because of two spots on my face and a lot of pockmarks. I've felt this way for nearly thirty years now on and off, depending on how bad the acne has been. I'm 41 and I'm guessing I started breaking out around 13.

This is for all of you who are teenagers or adults who have suffered from bad acne: You are beautiful. You are handsome. You are so much more than the zits you see in the mirror. Please remember this.

My husband has spent most of the 16 years we've been together telling me I'm beautiful. Sometimes it sinks in. But when I get a breakout, sometimes all I can see is the teenager who has no photos from a year of her life because the acne was so bad, I tore them up.

I've tried lots of treatments over the years: Retin A, Accutane, biofeedback, homeopathy, acupuncture, Chinese herbs and dietary changes. I even had doctors inject cysts with needles to drain them. Not fun. I'm an acupuncturist now and still needles near my face make me twitch, although they're no where near the size of the hypodermics the dermatologists used on me years ago.

I feel like sharing some of this with all of the kids I see who have acne but I know that the last thing we want is to have attention drawn to us. People without acne do that all by themselves.

This is the wisdom I can share with you. I'm not trying to sell a product or a lifestyle. But here are my two cents:

1) Change your diet now. Go see a nutritionist for advice on this. You can try elminating gluten, sugar and dairy from your diet and see what the culprit is. All of them contribute to inflammation in the body, which can make acne worse.

I waited about 20 years after my first breakout to change my diet. If I had known that it would have had such a dramatic effect, I would have given up wheat when I became a teenager. Seriously. I had to choose between eating really good croissants and clearer skin. I think I made the right choice.

2) See your doctor. A dermatologist specializes in disorders of the skin and can help you find the right medicine.

3) Get acupuncture. Both acupuncture and Chinese herbs, as well as other Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments like cupping, can help clear the toxins out of your body that contribute to acne and bring balance to your skin.

4) Go see an esthetician. She is not just someone who does facials, but can also show you how to take care of your skin.

5) Consider talking to a therapist. Acne is more than skin deep. Unsolicited remarks from strangers or even family members can cut like knives.

6) Know that you're not alone. Sometimes I think this is the hardest thing to remember. We live in a world where everyone in magazines looks perfect but that's only because the pictures have been edited to make them that way. No one is perfect.

7) Mirrors lie. See yourself through the eyes of those who love you. The people in your life who love you think you're beautiful. They don't care about the zits you see. They care about what's inside your heart. I know it may sound corny but it's really true.

There are a lot of us out there who have suffered from bad acne. You are so much more than the surface of your skin. Know that there is help out there. Know that you are loved. Know that you are beautiful.
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There's a little bit of a backstory to why I wanted to make falafel waffles. A few years ago, I was on a photo workshop in Oregon and we all shared a vacation house. I decided to make waffles and used Bob's Redmill
GF All Purpose Baking Flour. Since the main ingredient is garbanzo flour, they were a little heavy on the falafel flavor and they were dense. And they didn't go too well with maple syrup. My friends nicknamed them 'awful falafel waffles'. I agreed with their critique.

So I had it in the back of my mind to make a savory waffle that was actually meant to taste like falafel. And this is what I came up with:

I used this recipe as a base minus the sugar:
http://www.bobsredmill.com/recipes_detail.php?rid=750

GLUTEN FREE WAFFLES
Contributed by: Carol Fenster, Ph.D.
Hearty, homemade waffles can be made ahead and re-heated for a quick nutritious breakfast.

Dry Ingredients
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 Tbsp Sugar
1-1/2 cups GF All Purpose Baking Flour

Liquid Ingredients
1 Additional Oil for Frying
1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
1/2 cup Milk
1 large Egg

Directions
1. Blend all ingredients in blender or whisk vigorously in bowl until thoroughly blended. Let batter sit for five minutes.

2. While batter rests, preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions. (Adjust temperature setting after cooking first waffle.)

3. Lightly oil hot waffle iron, if necessary. Pour 1/4 of batter (or manufacturer’s recommended amount) onto heated waffle iron. Close and bake until steaming stops and waffle is deeply browned, about 4-6 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.

Makes 4 waffles.

Plus from this recipe:
http://glutenfreerecipebox.com/vegetarian-and-gluten-free-falafel-with-dill-yogurt-sauce

I added:
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
2 TBSP chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp salt

One other modification I made was instead of milk, I used 1/2 cup of yogurt plus enough water to make the batter wet but not lumpy.

I used this Tahini sauce recipe:
http://mideastfood.about.com/od/dipsandsauces/r/tahinisauce.htm

And I made this yogurt sauce:
Sadaf yogurt dip seasoning (or your own mix of mint, basil, tarragon, onions, garlic, black pepper, rose buds). - The packaged seasoning has the "packed or shared equipment with wheat, tree nuts and soy." so it's not GF.  Mix 2TBSP with one cup yogurt (I used more than the package recommends) and one half diced cucumber.

Add lettuce, tomatoes, scallions and whatever other veggies you like. Savory gluten-free falafel waffles I made on purpose!
Shop local for the holidays! Support artists and crafts people you know! Here are some of my favorites. Please feel free to add yours in the comments:

People I know in California (most local to me in the Bay Area):

Stunning nature photography prints and workshops by Joe Decker :
http://www.rockslidephoto.com/

Rain Hannah makes gorgeous jewelry:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/honeyandollie

Heather Robinson creates amazing paintings. Someday I'll own one:
http://heatherrobinson.com/

Moira makes felted wool vases, knitted coffee cup holders, awesome hats and more:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/KnitPurlSquirrel

Jean Chen makes soap with beeswax from beehives in Alameda, CA (she's also my tattoo artist):
http://www.etsy.com/shop/flikajean

Lisa Ellis makes beautiful earrings and stitchmarkers:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/LuxCapacity

People always ask me where I got my Steampunk iPhone case:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/CWestbrookDesigns

Dorktastic crocheted things from kayte kelly:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/dorklandia

Everytime I see Katherine at a local show or convention, I simply have to buy something from her. She helped save my mom from her fanny pack with a custom pocket toolbelt:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/bluemoonkatherine

Artists from other parts of the US:

Marrus is one of my favorite painters and she wrote a book you should read too:
http://marrusart.com/
nisaa: This is Halloween (come with me)
( May. 18th, 2011 03:00 pm)
I loved it so much I'm posting this conversation here (and on my profile page).

spoilers if you haven't seen 'The Doctor's Wife'  )
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There's a post on his livejournal with this year's image and pre-ordering information:
http://joedecker.livejournal.com/1281153.html
* 4 small squash (zucchini or other small squash is great), cut in thin rounds
* 4 TBSP fromage blanc (or if you want to stay away from cow dairy, 4 TBSP goat's milk yogurt)
* 2 TBSP pesto
* 4 eggs
* salt and pepper to taste


Directions:

* Steam the squash for 12 minutes

* Whisk the fromage blanc and pesto together, add the eggs and salt and pepper
* Add the steamed squash
* Pour into already prepared gluten-free pie crust (see Elana's Pantry recipe)
* Cook for 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit
* Allow to cool before serving.
* This recipe was modified by me based on the 'Flan de courgettes' recipe in "Tourtes et Quiches" by Marie Sanner
Ok, I promised some people that I'd post my gluten-free (and low glycemic) quiche adventure. We'll start with the pie crust. This is the recipe I'm using as the crust for all of the recipes I post. It's from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook


Elana's pantry gluten-free pie crust
Ingredients

* 1 1/2 C blanched almond flour
* 1/4 tsp celtic sea salt
* 1/4 tsp baking soda
* 1/4 C grapeseed oil
* 1 TBSP water

Directions
Elana’s Pantry Gluten Free Pie Crust Directions
* 1. In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, salt and baking soda.
* 2. In a small bowl, combine grapeseed oil, 1 Tbsp water
* 3. Stir wet ingredients into dry.
* 4. Pat dough into a 9 1/2” pie dish.
* 5. Bake at 325˚ for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.
* 6. Let this cool completely before putting the filling in.
On September 11th, I'll be doing the Alzheimer's Organization Memory Walk in San Francisco. Please consider donating here.

On September 12th, there'll be another 'fun-raiser' for [livejournal.com profile] whittles and her knee in Oakland. Please consider going to that event and donating money. More info here.

On October 17th, my friend [livejournal.com profile] lkeele will be doing the AIDS Walk in Atlanta. Please consider donating here.

Are there any other fundraising events you'd like to share?
1. Where are you camping?
W14 - La Familia Gladiatoria. Ours is the Greek temple on the lake at the bottom of Runestone Hill. You can't miss it. (I never get tired of saying that.)

2. When are you arriving?
Sunday the 8th around 5:30 at Pittsburgh Airport. Hopefully someone will pick me up . . .

3. What cool stuff are you doing?
My camp holds a Turkish and Greek Dessert Night on the Monday of War Week. I hear there'll be Turkish coffee, apricots with cream, dates filled with goat cheese and mascarpone, Turkish shortbread (gluten-free and otherwise) and stuffed grape leaves, just to name a few things. And we'll have performers of some kind. It's a very civilized party.

I also teach a Turkish Bath Class, open to Women-only. It's a medieval spa day. I am proud to say I make redheads every year.

If someone will let me, I'd love to go to Baroness Run Amok on Thursday night because there'll be some great women running amok. Even if I'm not a baroness.

4. What's your SCA name?
Nisaa Karahisari (well, actually it's a lot longer than that. Just call me Nisaa and I'll respond.)
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It's done:
http://sofobomo.org/book-333-disintegrating-gargoyles

In the end, I realize that I didn't do a whole lot of really detailed shots even though I only used the macro lens. So if I had it to do over again, I might have not given myself that restriction. For me, this book is more about the arrested decay than about the macro goodness, but it was a neat experiment.

A difference for me between this year's project and last year's is that I'm giving myself a day or two before I publish the book so that I'm happy with the printed copy. The goal was to get to a PDF of the book in 31 days. I did that. Last year I hit "print" right away and I ended up with some typos.
nisaa: (me with camera)
( Jul. 3rd, 2010 10:14 am)

IMG_2935
Originally uploaded by nisaatbl.
This is from yesterday's shoot around the former Alameda naval base.
nisaa: (me with camera)
( Jul. 3rd, 2010 10:13 am)

IMG_2935
Originally uploaded by nisaatbl.
This is from yesterday's shoot around the former Alameda naval base.
nisaa: (me with camera)
( Jun. 30th, 2010 09:22 am)
I think I'm about a week into it and I've got 5 images I may use so far. I plopped them into the Booksmart template and will leave them there until I have more photos and decide for sure.

Here's the theme that's sort of emerging: things with cobwebs and crumbled things (not food, but statues and not necessarily ancient ruins either, just things that were whole and now aren't).

So far, I've mostly taken photos in my neighborhood. I've read about the abandoned hospital or dentist office in Alameda that was creepy and potentially haunted but also burned down last year.

If anyone has any suggestions for places near Alameda and Oakland for me to photograph, let me know. And I'll be in New York near New Windsor, Pomona and Nyack for four days in July so if you happen to know any places near there, it might be hard for me to get around but if there's a must-see thing, I'll find a way. I don't remember any abandoned places near Nyack but I grew up near there a very long time ago and I'm sure it's changed a lot.
nisaa: (me with camera)
( Jun. 22nd, 2010 10:30 pm)
A friend asked me on Saturday if I was going to do this again this year. I'm not sure. I made two photo books last year: the one for SoFoBoMo and the one for my niece's birthday (I still don't have a copy of that book myself.)

If I decide to do it, I'd better get cracking. There are 38 days left and I'll need 31 to do it in. Maybe I'll do some macro stuff. There's a disintegrated gargoyle statue in the backyard that I've been meaning to shoot and this would give me an excuse to do that.

Hmmm . . .

Of course, as soon as I wrote this, I registered for this year's project.

Here's where mine will be:
http://sofobomo.org/book-333

I'll use this journal again to keep track of what I'm doing.
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