Calm continues to be a magical reprieve from the difficulties of the world. It’s so simple. People show videos of what it looks like out the window of their home. This morning I was welcomed into someone’s home in Brazil, heard birds chirping in Russia, felt the buzz of street traffic in Palestine, and whiled away the time listening to cicadas in Texas. The most magical thing is that in all these videos, nothing happens.
The site is free. I’ve chipped into their “buy me a coffee” jar.

Camping & Hiking Resources

We visited Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks over spring break, taking a Moterra luxury camper van.

Here are some camping & hiking resources we used
Gypsy Audio Tours – We really enjoyed hearing the audio tours while driving through the park, even multiple times.
National Park Service individual park guides, good for finding the main attractions
– National Park Rangers. Go to the Information Booth at the entrance to the park and ask questions of these flat-hatted fonts of information and good vibes find national park campgrounds and activities
National Park Service app, find National Parks

We heard about these resources and will use them next time
All Trails find trails
The Dyrt find campgrounds
Campendium find campgrounds

Hard Boiled Eggs in a Pressure Cooker – WIN!

Using my new pressure cooker method, hard-boiled eggs reliably come out of their shells without damage! Before I discovered this method, about 1 in 5 eggs had unsightly tears and 1 in 20 eggs got so chipped and torn, they were essentially unusable. Unacceptable!




– Add about 1 cup of water and up to a dozen large to extra large eggs to the pressure cooker.
– Cook eggs for 1 minute at high pressure (it takes a few minutes to get up to pressure), then let them cool in the pressure cooker naturally at least 7 minutes and up to… I dunno, I’ve left it for 15 minutes and the yolks were only slightly green.
– Put straight into an egg carton and into the fridge to cool for use later.

This method reliably avoids:
– undercooking (the yolk being soft or gooey)
– overcooking (the white being hard, the outside of the yolk turning green)
and most importantly…
– sticky shell (the shell sticking to the white so hard that the white tears when shell is peeled off)

It is a joy to peel them every time! It is still helpful to peel under running water to wash off tiny shell fragments, but not required.

My pressure cooker is a Fagor Lux Multicooker. The manual says it runs at 9psi. Your pressure cooker may be different. For example, the Instant Pot reportedly runs at 15psi, but then I’ve also heard Instant Pots cook slightly slower than the Fagor Lux. Whatever! Experiment a little!

I’ve tried a lot of saucepan timing and temperature methods that kinda-sorta-sometimes work. I tried ice baths before and after cooking. I tried using vinegar in the pot which sometimes helped but wasn’t reliable and boiling vinegar makes the house smell funny. Different pressure cooker timings work but my 1 minute pressure / 7 minute cooldown version is the easiest, most reliable so far!

Thank you Gail for giving us the Fagor Lux pressure cooker!

It’s weird, I don’t remember having this problem when I was younger. Maybe it’s a localized Bay Area chicken problem? I wouldn’t think so because in recent years I’ve had the problem with several different brands of eggs, fresh eggs, older eggs, even fancy organic pasture raised not-debeaked hormone-free etc… etc… eggs. But when we hard boil them in a saucepan, we reliably have 2 out of 12 eggs be a horrible, messy failure! But no more! I am in pressure cooked hard boiled egg heaven!

(This is something of a repost, but my updated method is so much better that I had to share!)

Prosodic Stress

I’ve always been bothered that English writing has no great way of describing prosodic stress. I only learned that term today but I’ve understood it for decades! What is “prosodic stress”? I’ll borrow from Wikipedia which has a nice definition and example:

I didn’t take the test yesterday. (Somebody else did.)
I didn’t take the test yesterday. (I did not take it.)
I didn’t take the test yesterday. (I did something else with it.)
I didn’t take the test yesterday. (I took one of several. or I didn’t take the specific test that would have been implied.)
I didn’t take the test yesterday. (I took something else.)
I didn’t take the test yesterday. (I took it some other day.)

Sadly, italics and bold usually come off as gauche, similar to how red circles get overused in memes.


Thanks to Tom Scott’s Why Shakespeare Could Never Have Been French video for teaching me the term!


Whatcha Doin?

A friend asked what I’ve been up to…
I’m still being an occupational therapist for WCCUSD. Mostly at Murphy Elementary in El Sobrante. Working from home is, as they say in the business “challenging” for a variety of reasons. Growing up my 6 year old daughter is a thing. Staying at home, away from the pandemic for the last year is a thing.

MPOW Bluetooth USB Dongle

Just got an MPOW Bluetooth USB Dongle, Model BH519A
It does Bluetooth 5.1. :-)

There’s no manual for it, just drivers on the site

Mpow Flame Solo Wireless Bluetooth Eardbuds

I got a pair of Mpow Flame Solo Wireless Eardbuds, model BH503A recently. I’m really happy with them!

Here’s the Mpow Flame Solo User Manual

I did a comparison recently between them, Tozo T12, Jabra Evolve T65, and Anker Soundcore Spirit X, and these came out on top!

Main features:
– $40 inexpensive on Amazon
– They “just work”. It has taken a little effort to figure out how to switch between my now multiple audio-out options on my computer, that isn’t the fault of the earbuds. Syncing is easy, turning on and of is easy.
– audio quality for music is nearly as good as my wired earbuds, I use them for music and Zoom sessions a lot
– The over-the-ear design means they stay on my head and I don’t have to rely on squeezing the earpiece into my ear to stay on (like the Tozo T12)
– The volume and sound response (highs vs lows etc) is sometimes a little bit less than my wired earbuds. But, as Ultron said as he prepared to destroy earth, “I got no strings on me!”

Laser Printer Toner Refill Kits That Work

I’ve now bought and used 2 laser printer toner refill kits from and I’m very happy with them!

It took about 20 minutes to refill my second toner, saving about $50 off a name-brand new toner cartridge. I’ll get it down to 10 minutes with practice. It takes a little bit of disassembly and work but they gave me excellent printed instructions and their website practically screams “If you have ANY questions or problems, call us, we’re here!”

Our family has 2 Brother HL-L2350DW laser printers. They’re pretty good inexpensive printers. (Though last month one just died on me, Brother support walked me through everything but… [sad trombone sounds])

I’ve had mixed experience with inexpensive, off-brand toner cartridges. I forget the details but I think about 70% of my toner purchases from V4Ink on Amazon worked flawlessly.

Get A Pap Test

If you are female and thinking of not getting a regular pap test / pap smear, please reconsider. You already know that cervical cancer is both very common and very treatable and it has no symptoms until it has already done a huge amount of damage. The test is definitely uncomfortable. But this may help:


Facebook post by Verana Faye

Verana Faye, March 2, 2020 ·
This morning I went to the doctor to get a referral for a dermatologist. At my appointment they let me know I was due for a pap smear and asked if I wanted it right then and there. My initial reaction was nervousness and resistance. I have really disliked pap smears in the past and have found them to be quick, cold, and even traumatic at times. Then I remembered the article I posted recently about some practitioners at Planned Parenthood who are now inviting women to insert the speculum themselves as a gesture of autonomy and consent. I suddenly got excited and decided to ask for this.

I was greeted by a young resident who told me she would be giving me the pap smear. Within a few minutes we were talking about menstrual cups and Thinx menstrual panties. So far this was already going very differently! I then told her about the article I had read recently and asked her if I could insert the speculum myself. She was a bit taken aback, but seemed to also get excited.

“I am not quite sure how it will work, but let’s give it a try!”

I was curious about the confusion because to me it felt very straight forward, but her willingness and curiosity brought tears to my eyes.
We worked together. We took it slowly.

I told her how I wanted it to go, and she made sure all the tools were in place before applying the lube on the speculum for me. I leaned back, took a slow breath, and inserted the speculum myself. I then took another deep breath and handed it to her to complete the exam. She talked me through what she was doing. And in no time, we were complete.

I sat up and she looked me in the eye and said, “I would love to give women that option in the future. Can you give me some feedback? How was that for you? What felt good? What would you have wanted different?” I got to share. I got to talk about my experience and let her know how there were a couple of places where I would have loved her to invite a deep relaxing breath or an additional instruction or invitation.

At the end, she turned to me one last time and said, “Thank you for advocating for yourself today.”

I felt fucking powerful. I could feel her feeling powerful too. I felt us rise together in that tiny room for those precious moments. I feel so grateful for her openness and for the opportunity to work together with other women to change the way we engage with our bodies and with “standard” medical care.

Right now Mercury is retrograding over my natal Mars. This is an acute time for me to be more direct and action oriented with my communication. Though it also may be a time for heated conversation, it is also one for reform and personal and collective liberation. The planet Neptune is also in a square to my natal Mercury. This is a much longer transit, lasting several years. This is a once in a lifetime time for me to heal some old, confusing threads around communication, and how my voice impacts and influences space and spirit around me. I am so grateful to feel these influences so strongly today and for the grace and clarity with which I asked for what I needed. This has not been easy for me in the past and I bow deeply to life for the weavings and harvestings of today. ❤
Art by Amelia Rankine

COVID Vaccine #2 Done!