Author: mydragonispink

Hello and welcome to my blog! The name "mydragonispink" was inspired by my car which is a Dodge Challenger R/T in Furious Fuchsia and named the pink dragon. I know its fuchsia, but the fuchsia dragon doesn't sound as good so I chose to stick with pink. I love photography and making jewelry. My blog will be varied as I have many interests. One of the main reasons I started this blog was to, hopefully, improve my writing style and ability. I will be starting college in the fall of 2017 so please check back to watch my abilities improve and my style form. I will be studying science, although, I am not sure what branch yet. Please feel free to follow me along this next journey.

I’m Prejudiced Against Spiders

I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately, which is no surprise, because, I’m a thinker.  It’s what I do.  If I could get paid to be a lifelong student and philosopher, I would.  My mind constantly trails off into other realms while I am supposed to be focused on my task at hand, whatever it may be.  So here is one of my random thoughts that lasted a little too long.

I’m prejudiced against spiders!  Now, I know they are not the same species as myself, but do they have to be?  Merriam-Webster defines prejudice as:

1 :  injury or damage resulting from some judgment or action of another in disregard of one’s rights; especially :  detriment to one’s legal rights or claims

2a (1) :  preconceived judgment or opinion (2) :  an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge     b :  an instance of such judgment or opinion     c :  an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics

Of course, Merriam-Webster is talking about judgment of people, but part 2a states “preconceived judgment or opinion” and that is clearly my relationship with spiders.  I want to crush them all with extreme prejudice!  I don’t want to live near them, I don’t want them in my house, my yard, my schools or my town.  I’m afraid they will crawl in my mouth or bite me while I’m sleeping.  I’m also pretty certain they are planning world domination while I’m not looking.  Some are poisonous and have killed in the past and even though the vast majority poses no harm, I’m petrified.  After all, they just look mean.  Is that fair to the spider who has done nothing but exist on the same planet as me?  No.  Have I cared whether it was fair or not?  No.  Is that a good way to live my life?  Nope.

So here is what I was thinking.  I have an irrational fear of spiders.  I mean I am simply terrified of them and always have been.  If there are too many around at once, and I am not able to regroup before the next sighting, I will break down and cry.  It’s not a pretty picture and I am not proud of it.  But, this is my issue and not the fault of the spider.  As my issue, it is my responsibility to work on it, I do not expect spiders to stay away because of my fears.  They have just as much purpose on this planet as I do and, depending on the day, maybe even more of a purpose.  Removing one 5’11” woman from the Earth probably doesn’t make much difference, but the amount of spiders it would take to fill the same amount of space as a 5’11” woman, that’s a lot of spiders and could change the ecosystem in that area for a bit.  They repopulate rapidly, so it wouldn’t make much difference for long.  The question now is how I can change my irrational fear so that I am no longer forcing my prejudice on the spider. 

Education and empathy is my answer.  Learn about the spider and find out all the awesome different things they can do.  For example, there are spiders that can make super long webs, really fast, that will fly through the air on the wind and attach to something on the other side, like a tree.  Then they can make their web and catch insects flying above a river.  Something so small can do something so big.  They really are master architects with their webs.   As for empathy, I can’t ask a spider what its life has been like, but I can look at their lives objectively and get an idea.  Think of what it would be like to just be hanging out, trying to find food and some giant comes along and takes away your home or worse, tries to step on you and kill you.  Of course most spiders are in the wilderness, but they have their predators such as snakes, birds, cats and even other spiders.  I don’t know about you, but that sounds like some pretty tough living.

Spider

My goofy spider cartoon needs some work.

Everyone is trying to live our lives and survive, maybe create a home and enjoy life while we are here.  If I’m the one with the fears, shouldn’t I be working on that myself and not expect the ones I’m afraid of to just step out of the way and go live somewhere else so I can feel safe and happy?  Nothing about prejudice is rational, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be rational about it and work on myself to change.

Sincerely,

Future spider friend.

Citations

“Prejudice.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2017.

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I tried Gardein’s Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n

My Gardein’s Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n on steamed rice

I’m always a little curious about vegetarian replacements for meat, especially since vegetarian options have proved to be much easier for my digestion.  I have had pretty good luck with Gardein in the past so when I saw this Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n I was fully on board.  Full disclosure, I’m not a big fan of chicken find it to be basically flavorless.  Although, I do enjoy chicken nuggets.  Because of this I was fairly certain I wouldn’t be disappointed if this didn’t taste like chicken.  So here’s what I thought.


Be sure to read the packaging!  As you can see in the picture, 140 calories is highlighted in a beautiful, encouraging, green.  Sounds great, right?  Below that, not highlighted, it states “per serving without sauce”.  If you are buying this you want the sauce, otherwise it’s not Mandarin Orange.  I did not read the packaging.  Luckily, I was not worried about the calories today.  Besides, this review isn’t about healthiness or calories, just taste.

There were a few different cooking options listed on the back.  The front of the package says it takes 8 minutes and that is probably accurate if you cook it on the stove.  Keep in mind that the rice is not included so factor that into your cooking time.  I have a rice steamer so I started the rice just before starting the oven preheating.  I chose the bake option for my “Chick’n” and this takes about 16 minutes once the oven is ready.  I line my pans with foil and then spray an olive oil cooking spray on the foil.  Next step, spread out the nuggets and placed in the oven for 8 minutes.  After 8 minutes, I turned the pieces over and cooked for 8 more minutes.  The sauce packet needs placed in hot water for at least 3 minutes to warm up.  Once the pieces are cooked, place them in a bowl, pour the sauce in and stir the pieces in the sauce.

Once I put the pieces on the bed of rice and tossed on some green onion, I was ready to enjoy!  The flavor of the sauce was pretty tasty.  A sweet taste with a hint of citrus.  It had the consistency of syrup and I would prefer it a little thicker, but it covered the pieces well.  The nuggets themselves seemed to taste a lot like chicken nuggets to me.  The breading was pretty good and the texture was very much like a chicken nugget.  I thought the sauce was going to make the pieces soggy or soft, but they remained crispy.  I’ve tried other frozen chicken nuggets, that had meat and I thought these were pretty comparable 

The overall result is that I was pleasantly surprised and would recommend giving it a try.  I will be buying it again and I hope you like it too.

Encourage Passion

In the fall of 2017, I will start classes for a degree in science.  Of course I am not certain what I will get a degree in, but I know it will be science.  For the people that actually know me, this will not be a surprise, but for the many, many people I have come across in the past, they will probably think this is a waste of time.  After all, I will be turning 44 years old in a couple weeks and, to them, I should just do what everyone else in the world does, such as, hate my job, but continue working at it because that’s what responsible people do.  I can’t even count how many times I have been told, “everybody hates their job” and “no one likes going to work”.  Well, why is that?  I know that each person is different and I tend to think differently than the majority, but that doesn’t mean I should conform to the cookie cutter mold of the traditional woman.  I am not the traditional woman of the past and I am proud of my uniqueness.  Maybe I am just being selfish and blind to my own faults, but I don’t see that the problem is in me, but instead believe the problem is that the people telling me to conform have not been paying attention to who I actually am.   Or they don’t care.  Here are several examples of moments from my childhood, the moments from my adult life are far too many to list, that should have been a clue that I didn’t think like the average girl.

When I was a child, I did play with dolls, but not always in a traditional way.  When you think about a little girl playing with dolls you may picture a nurturing child that is pretending to be the mom and caring for a family.  Probably with a bow in her hair and maybe even a dress. What you probably do not picture, is a quiet little girl with long brown hair, sometimes with a bow, dressed in denim jeans, strategically placing army men around the doll house, waiting for the signal to attack.  That girl was me.  Maybe it was because I had brothers or maybe it’s just who I am because I still love playing strategy war games.  I could have been encouraged to have a military future.  Of course, when I played with my friends I would be more traditional with my dolls.  I did also like to crochet clothing and fashion accessories for them, so there was a wide range of interests being shown.

I loved miniatures of every kind.  I wanted to build villages, roads, farms.  I would spend all day at my grandma’s farm making roads in the hillside for my toy cars to drive around. Toy Cuda My favorite was to build on a slope so I could watch the car drive down the winding road on its own.  I loved to use Lincoln Logs and Lego to build houses and towers.  These are all engineering skills that could have been noticed and encouraged. 

There was a lot of time spent hanging around my dad and later, my brother, while they were working on cars or even a lawn mower.  I think most people thought I just wanted to hang around them, but I genuinely enjoyed engines being taken apart and put together.  The excitement of an engine first starting up will always be a thrill for me.  I love tools of every kind to this day!  Here I could have been encouraged to be a mechanical engineer.

Feminine things still had some fascination for me.  I did, and still do, enjoy putting on makeup and styling hair with my friends.  One of my lifelong best friends is a hair stylist and another studied makeup artistry.  Both are very well suited for those careers.  I am not a daily makeup user, but when I was little I would mix perfume together to make a new fragrance.  This usually ended badly, but an enjoyable experience, none the less.  I would pour out the liquid lip gloss and add eye shadow or blush powder to design new colors.  Maybe chemistry could have been encouraged there.

Not everyone was oblivious to my interests.  I believe my grandpa knew I would be a very independent woman and was paying attention to the clues.  At the time he would say things like, “you might not always have a man around to do these things for you so you should learn”.  At first that sounds extremely sexist, but I think his heart was in the right place.  He knew I was interested in learning.  There were other granddaughters, but I don’t think he bothered teaching the others how to change a tire or change the oil in a car.  Maybe he did and I didn’t see it, but he spent a lot of time teaching me things one on one and I will always love him dearly for that.  Even though he has been gone for 20 years, I still get tears in my eyes (I actually had to stop writing this for a bit so I could regain my composure after a good cry) just thinking about him and how he treated us as individuals and not just children.  Of course he never said “Jeanette, you could do this for a career”, but he did say “you can do this”.

Now, don’t get me wrong, my parents told me that I was smart and seemed proud of me, but I don’t know that they had any ideas for suitable career paths.  I was born in 1973, so they are still pretty traditional by nature, and my parents both seemed to have the idea that you just get a job, any job that will pay the bills, and you keep working your ass off every day.  That’s commendable and I have great respect for people with strong work ethics.  I always put my all into my jobs and I’m usually really good at whatever job I do, but that does not mean it’s a good fit for me.  Also, my family are not the reason I have not gone to college until now.  I did try briefly when I was 20 years old, but poor decisions, made by me, got in the way.  Now, I feel I have good, supportive, people around me and the time is right.  Furthering my education has always been very important to me and there is no reason not to work at bettering myself.

I think the main point I would like to get across is this, before telling someone what you think they should be doing, ask yourself if it’s really what you feel they should do based on you and society, or if you were paying attention to who they really are and if it’s the right choice for them.   I believe peoples passions should be encourage, not overlooked.

No more sugar, please!


It has now been 3 1/2 months since I began my sugar free journey.  Of course I still have a small amount of sugar, as I’ve mentioned in my previous post.  I even had a piece of the coconut cream pie, pictured above, at Christmas time.  The joy of that piece of pie was short lived, however.  After eating something with a lot of sugar I start to feel a little jittery as if I’ve had too much caffeine or a mild panic attack.  I believe this is because the pie has processed sugar and causes a blood sugar spike.  This adverse reaction helps discourage any further “cheat” snacks so I’m glad it happens.  It’s actually been pretty easy to stay away from sugary snacks and desserts though.

Over 3 months of eating minimal sugar, I lost 12 pounds.  I wasn’t trying to lose weight so this was just an added bonus.  Losing a pound each week with zero exercise is a pretty great bonus, if you ask me.  In the last two weeks I have started exercising regularly, for heart health, and I feel great!  

The greatest and most surprising benefit that I have experienced is sleep quality.  I still sleep the same amount, sometimes a little less, but I’m well rested and don’t feel the need for caffeine at all.  It’s a little difficult to wake up at times because I’m in such a deep sleep.  My answer to this has been to exercise first thing.  At least in the last couple weeks, anyway.  Showering first thing would work as well, but I feel cold as soon as I leave the covers so heating up the body with a good workout is perfect for me.  My sleep quality was always an issue before.  It took a long time to fall asleep and then I would wake up every couple hours and be tired all day.  Now I can fall asleep quickly and maybe wake up once a night.  Sleep alone is reason enough for me to continue a sugar free life.

To sum up my experience, I feel healthy, I look healthy, and that makes me happy.  With results like these, I plan on being happily sugar free for the rest of my life.  

A fried rice Thanksgiving

My husband and I are not overly traditional.  We believe you should celebrate, or not celebrate, holidays the way you want and not what tradition tells you.  If it were up to us, we wouldn’t celebrate holidays at all, but family has other plans.  However, those plans are not until later so we got to have our version of thanksgiving this year.  What is our version of Thanksgiving?  A regular, ordinary, day off.  Ahh, so nice.  So for lunch I made something fast and easy.  Fried rice.

My kitchen and the dishes I cook, are fairly minimalist.  I have plenty of cabinets for storage, but most of them are almost empty.  I don’t buy a lot of cookery or seasonings.  I keep the basics and that’s pretty much it.  There are a couple things that I like about this.  

1.  Easy preparation and therefore, easy cleanup.

2.  Fewer supplies means you have to get creative sometimes.

One of the things I do have is a rice cooker.  I love this thing and highly recommend having one.  So here is my simple way of making delicious fried rice. 

  • First, steam the amount of rice you are wanting to make.  I recommend going by what the instructions on the bag of rice says.  I kind of eyeball it and the amount never comes out the same twice.  We like the whole grain rice, but you can’t choose a different kind.  This is the part that takes the most time.  For two people I think it takes my cooker about 20 minutes.
  • When the rice is steamed, in a large skillet or wok, heat up about two tablespoons of olive oil on medium high heat.
  • Scramble one egg and a chopped vegetable of your choice.  I prefer snow peas or sugar snap peas.  Some people like to add carrots.  The beautiful thing about fried rice is that it’s very easy to customize.
  • Once the egg is fried and scrambled up, add the steamed rice to the skillet. 
  • Stir until mixed well.
  • I like to add my soy sauce into the skillet and cook it into the fried rice.  You can add your soy sauce later if you prefer.
  • Add a serving to the plate and you’re ready to enjoy!

I apologize that I don’t put specific measurements in my recipes, but that’s just not how I cook.  I want to give people the freedom to choose what they want in their dish.  If you love vegetables, feel free to add more!  Maybe you like a lot of egg in your fried rice.  The important thing is to find out what works for you and go with it.  Happy eating!

Can we go back to simple dining, please?

Maybe things have always been this way, but it seems to me that we are trying to play everything up to the most extreme version possible. More atmosphere, more flavor, more expense. If it’s not hip no one wants to go there and it’s not hip unless its overpriced and has a long line to enter. Two things I can’t abide, paying more than something is worth and lines. I don’t find the hipster atmosphere and over priced food a fair trade for the portion of my life spent wraiting in your line.

That being said, I am perfectly aware that a lot of people really enjoy these places and would love to find more of them. I am just not one of them.  My two favorite places to eat in Denver are iconic Colfax locations, but simple and inexpensive.

Tom’s Diner.  Tom’s looks like it hasn’t changed its decor since the 1960’s.  Not in the way a hipster restaurant had a designer scour the earth for the perfect retro style, but like everything was purchased in the 60’s and well cared for ever since.  I’m certain my mother had those exact plates when I was a child.  Granted, I wasn’t born until 1973, but she didn’t buy new dishes until the 80’s.  Walking into Tom’s is like stepping back in time.  A beautiful time machine that makes me feel at home.  The food at a diner was never meant to be “amazing”, but is meant to be comfort food like your mom, or you, would make at home.  Tom’s provides good food, and lots of it, at a good price with great service.  In fact, the staff has always been one of the things I love most.   Every person working there has a unique character all their own and are enjoyable to be around.  From my experience, this is just the Colfax way and Tom’s Diner is definitely a part of Colfax.

Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs.  Another Colfax staple that has perfected simple dining.  As you would expect from a place that specializes in hot dogs, you order at the counter and wait for your number to be called.  You can sit at a counter inside or have a picnic in the patio.  The patio area has tables and a pet station so Fido can hang with the family.  One of the great things about Denver is that it’s pretty pet friendly.  With about 300 days of sun a year and fairly mild weather, we are outside a lot and like to bring our furry family members along.  Decorating the patio area walls is the history of Steve’s for your light reading pleasure.  The food is quite tasty with lots of options to choose from, but of course, I always go for chili dogs.  Even though it’s small and there are always people there, it never feels over crowded.  Just cozy.

The first customization of my Fiat 500 Abarth.

The Fiat 500 Abarth is a fantastically fun car for multiple reasons.  Aside from being fun to drive, they are relatively cheap and easy to customize.  There are endless possibilities and for once, I am looking forward to customizing my car.  Normally I leave my cars exactly as purchased.  Don’t ask me why, I don’t have an answer.

500-abarth-lowered

This picture was taken the day I brought my little cherry tomato home.  The previous owner had the car lowered and although I had some reservations about buying a car that was modified, Fiat assured me that it was a Fiat technician that had installed the kit.  There are plenty of people that prefer their Abarth lowered and it is pretty great in the corners, but I’m certain those people have another car as their daily driver.  Or they live in a smooth, flat, perfect world with no railroad tracks.  Unfortunately, I do not and this car is meant to be my daily driver.  Yes I can slow way down for anything that is an inch above the ground, but there are always sudden surprises that pop up.  My biggest concern wasn’t speed bumps, railroad tracks or my driveway.  My biggest concern was winter driving.  My husband has had an Abarth for a couple years and it’s really pretty great in the snow.  However, the snow gets packed in the wheel wells of a regular Abarth so I was certain it would be even worse when there is less space.   Despite my concerns, the car was a good price and there really are not a lot of Abarths to chose from in my area.  Used or new.   So I bought the car knowing that I would have to pay to raise it back to normal pretty soon.

The dealership was going to charge about $1,800.00 to replace the springs, but we decided to go a bit cheaper, because we can.  My husband found the same springs he has on his for about $160.00 and his dad was able to help install them.  I normally would not agree to do it ourselves, but his dad is experienced and has the proper equipment to complete the job safely and correctly.  It was completed today and here is what it looks like now.


It doesn’t look like a big difference, but it is a huge difference driving over the train tracks near our house.  I had to drive about 6 mph over the tracks when it was lowered and it was still risky.  Now I can fly over them at 25 or 30 mph if I so chose.  I no longer have to remember to take a different route with tracks that are smoother.  I will be sad that corners will not be quite as snug, but the car is still fun and it’s personalized to my taste.  I’m not sure what changes I will make in the future.  Most likely a gear shift knob at least, but there are endless possibilities and miles of fun to be had!