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The ShanMonster

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Recipes I Want to Try [Mar. 24th, 2015|11:42 am]
The ShanMonster
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In case you haven't figured it out, I'm clearing my tabs. There are so many open.

Here are a bunch of recipes I want to try out. Maybe you'd like to try them, too.

Apple Banana Quinoa Breakfast Cups

Dark Chocolate and Parsnip Cakes

Greek Avgolemono Chicken Soup
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Yukon Links [Mar. 24th, 2015|11:05 am]
The ShanMonster

The Yukon paddling race is looking less and less likely due to my inability to find someone close by to compete with. So I am looking into doing hiking and exploration adventures up there, instead. Here are some of the links I've found:

Whitehorse-area hikes: Mount White looks especially interesting because of mountain goats and their babies.

Carcross-area guided day trips

Carcross-area self-guided excursions

Dog-sledding kennel tour

Trip Advisor Whitehorse activities

Whitehorse travel guide

Beez Kneez Bakpakers hostel

Yukon hiking trail guide
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Limited Space Gardening Links [Mar. 24th, 2015|10:54 am]
The ShanMonster

I do a lot of gardening, but finding ways to successfully grow a lot of things in a small amount of area is challenging for me. It's even more challenging when I can't dig in the dirt, and when squirrels are at war with me.

Here are a few ideas I'd like to try.

Wading pool gardening: Making raised beds out of kiddy wading pools.

Growing corn in shopping bags.

Squash Arch: I've had no luck with squash the last couple of years because of mildew. Perhaps this will help.

Tomato cage/drip irrigation

Do you have any suggestions?
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Banana Buckwheat Pancakes [Mar. 24th, 2015|10:26 am]
The ShanMonster
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My friend Mo sent me this link a while back, telling me the pancakes are delicious. It took me a while before I finally made them, but guess what? She's right.

It's gluten-free and egg-free, and super yummy.

The original portions in the recipe are too small, but here's the scaled-up recipe. It serves about three or four.

1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup steel-cut oats (or grind rolled oats with a blender or food processor)
2 Tbsp ground flax seed
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup plain or Greek yoghourt
1 1/4 cup milk or milk substitute
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
2 sliced ripe bananas

Heat a skillet over medium heat for 3-5 minutes while you prepare the batter.

Whisk together dry ingredients. Add yoghourt, milk, vanilla, and oil. Mix until smooth. Batter should be thick, but you can thin it with a bit more milk, if you like.

Fold in bananas.

Put some oil in the pan, then add about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake. It should sizzle when it hits the pan. Cook until bubbles start to appear throughout, then flip and cook for about two minutes.

Serve 'em warm with all the fixings.
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Tap tap. Is this thing on? [Mar. 11th, 2015|11:32 pm]
The ShanMonster
Today's the first time I've been able to access LJ in over a week. Has anyone else had issues with it? I'm seeing lots of posts, so now I'm thinking it's all about me. Yup.
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Danse Du Jour [Jan. 28th, 2015|07:46 pm]
The ShanMonster
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It's been a while, but this one jumped to my attention. It's not a stellar piece of virtuosic skill. The choreography isn't earth-shattering. However, it is amazing because of all the students who were involved in this production. What a great teacher, to get so many kids interested in dance and the sheer joy of moving.

This is the A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School doing their interpretation of Uptown Funk.

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Excerpts from my today [Jan. 28th, 2015|07:31 pm]
The ShanMonster
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Today was made with walking interspersed with a whole bunch of other stuff. Here's a video précis of my day.

My morning:



Now? Now I rest.
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zomg [Jan. 7th, 2015|02:45 pm]
The ShanMonster
So I won a trip to the Yukon and entry into the world's longest kayak race (>770 km). I'm trying to figure out how to make this thing happen. A DNF is fine by me. I just want to be able to give it my best.
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To-Do List [Jan. 4th, 2015|06:22 pm]
The ShanMonster

I think I made one of these lists about ten years ago or so. I'm not sure where I put it, but I do know I should cross a few of these off. And here's another list, in no particular order.


  • learn to knit
  • Learn card weaving
  • Do a strict pull-up
  • Do a chest-to-bar pull-up
  • Create my own comic book
  • Make a meal strictly from wild-gathered food without leaving the city
  • Hike the Inca Trail
  • Travel to the UK
  • Take classical voice classes
  • Be an art model
  • Be a fashion model
  • Study trapeze
  • Learn to pole dance
  • Learn aerial silks
  • Learn to climb a rope
  • Do mixed martial arts fighting
  • Travel to a metropolis solo
  • Learn to spin poi
  • Learn to spin voi
  • Get my first solo art show
  • Learn to china paint
  • Learn to do soft pastels paintings
  • Run a cross-country race
  • Run a road race
  • Run a 5 km race
  • Run a 7/8 km race
  • Run a 10 km race
  • Try parkour
  • Eat a cricket (it was gross)
  • Self publish a book
  • Get published in a literary journal
  • Teach myself Latin
  • Learn to sing in German, Latin, French, and Italian
  • Go to the opera
  • Become a personal trainer
  • Study butoh, contemporary dance, modern dance, Khmer ballet, tap, ballet, flamenco, krump, breakdance, dancehall
  • Perform in a dance troupe
  • Perform a choreographed piece
  • Get rock climbing and belaying lessons
  • Do multiple, unassisted pistol squats
  • Do multiple glute-ham raises with ease
  • Ride a camel
  • See a Cirque du Soleil show
  • Learn to do a headstand

To Be Completed

  • Travel to Ecuador, Mongolia, Romania, Transylvania, Germany, Iceland, Greece, Morocco, Kenya, Hawaii, Antarctica, Galapagos Islands, Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory, Nunavut.
  • Participate in a Tough Mudder
  • Teach art
  • Go backwoods camping
  • Take up orienteering
  • Improve my Latin
  • Do unassisted handstand pushups
  • Learn to sing in Arabic
  • Learn to play the button-key accordion again
  • Learn how to boulder
  • Do a free-standing handstand
  • Get proficient enough at pistol squats to incorporate them in a dance performance
  • Ride an elephant
  • Ride an ostrich
  • Compete in a crosscountry adventure race
  • Run a half marathon
  • Run a marathon
  • Learn nålebinding
  • Hike the Lycian Way
  • Hike the entire Bruce Trail
  • Hike the Lares Trek
  • Write a novel
  • Make a quilt
  • Learn to throw a spear
  • Learn calligraphy

Incomplete (And likely to remain that way)

  • Complete a GoRuck Challenge. Unfortunately, due to an underlying hip issue, my sports doctor has cautioned me that participating in such an extreme act of endurance is likely to permanently ruin my hip. So instead, I have shadowed some events.
  • Complete a metal-smithing degree. Halfway through the program, I realized I am nowhere near passionate enough on the subject to complete my studies and go into further debt.
  • Travel to Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Central African Republic.

What am I missing? I'm sure there's plenty.
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Blade of Gliese Chapter One: Riza of Antinome [Dec. 19th, 2014|01:44 pm]
The ShanMonster
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Riza of Antinome slipped her foot behind that of the Lancastian soldier, pressed with her knee, then shoved the off-balance man hard into the wall. He sucked air in a noisy bray, the wind knocked right out of him. She laughed when she saw the next soldier rush toward her and easily tossed him over her shoulder and slammed him into the floor. She stood back, cackled, cracked her knuckles, then dived back into her fracas. She'd been stuck on board the Lancastian cruiser for too long behaving herself. It was time to let loose. With glee, she plucked the first soldier off the table where he'd collapsed mouth agape and swung him like a mallet into the second one. Both men made funny noises, now.

The soldiers at this bar felt secure with their reputations as ill-tempered thugs. Other patrons gave them deference. The bullies weren't used to resistance. They were too skilled with cruelty to expect anything from their opponents but pleas for mercy, and mercy wasn't really their forte. Riza knew of their reputation, of course. It was what brought her to this bar in particular. She wanted to stretch her legs--work out those kinks.

And so she waded into another man's fight. At the centre of the circle of sneering soldiers was a small, unarmed foreigner whose only crime was to wander into the wrong pub for a beer. He was a Marrup, from the looks of his peculiar dress. Riza didn't give half a toss about this man. She was just itching for an excuse.

The Marrup held his hands out in a placating gesture to the soldiers and screamed as one slashed at him with a knife. Riza grabbed the soldier's wrist and spun him around, smashing his face into the corner of the bar. The knife spun away, tip stabbing into the floor, hilt shuddering to stillness, and the foreigner plucked up his sarong and skittered out of reach of the soldiers.

Riza had always been an adrenaline junkie, as long as she could remember. When she was a little girl in Antinome, she'd often snuck off to go spelunking in perilous glacial crevasses much to her father's chagrin and her mother's secret pride. It had made her strong and quick on her feet. Her love of adventure was a blessing since a life of ease and comfort did not appeal to her at all. Her musculature was most impressive, with immense, sinewy thighs and a massive lat spread. She looked nothing like an average woman, and stood almost a full head taller than the average man. She was most certainly not an average anything. There could be no surprise that she should become a master of the martial arts, and a magnet for mayhem. Riza loved her life.

Five soldiers faced her now, angered that the foreigner had gotten away. She had ruined their fun. They would make her pay, or so they thought. The Antinomian slid Lifedrinker from its scabbard and took a low stance, ready for the onslaught. Her lips slid back, her nostrils flared, and her throat erupted into a terrifying battle cry. The patrons of the bar stood paralyzed, staring at the woman who dared challenge the Lancastian soldiers.

Two soldiers leapt at her with murder in their eyes, blades thrusting. Riza parried and dipped, piercing one man's throat on Lifedrinker, then smashing its hilt hard against the other man's temple.

Riza held Lifedrinker high over her head, and blood spattered down on her face. "My sword hungers for more," she growled.

The last three soldiers charged, swords swinging. Riza sidestepped, teeth gleaming with her battle rictus. From the shadows, someone hit her shoulder with a chair, and she was thrown off balance for a moment.

Taking advantage of the situation, one of the soldiers slashed downward with his sword, etching a long thin red line down Riza's right arm. Ignoring the deep scratch, Riza moved around the soldier, drawing him away from his cohorts. The remaining bar patrons fled as the two squared off, razor-sharp blades dancing through the air. Riza's war face turned into a pleased grin when she realized her opponent was a worthy one. But she wouldn't still be alive today if she hadn't already mastered every attack, feint, and riposte used on Gliese. Slowly, incrementally, the soldier was forced backward, until with a quick twist and a thrust, the Lancastian's military career was permanently ended.

With a jerk, Riza freed Lifedrinker and turned to face the last two soldiers. But instead of two, there was now only one, and he lie in a crumpled heap upon the floor where the Marrup was rhythmically bashing him about the head with a whiskey bottle, shouting with each hit. "Take that," he howled, "And that, and that!" He breathed heavily with exhaustion and righteous indignation.

Looking up, he noticed Riza and clambered to his feet taking a reverent bow. "My life is yours. Only tell me what to do, and I shall do it."

The Antinomian laughed, wiping Lifedrinker on the bludgeoned soldier. "You'd better run for the hills and pray that the gods protect you."

"Maybe we should both make for the hills," said the Marrup. "One of those soldiers got away, and I don't doubt he'll soon be back with a lot more."

Riza nodded to the Marrup, sheathed her sword, and breezed out into the Gliesean night. She sprinted down the street, pacing her breath with ease. She paused after turning the first corner, peeking back around the closed shop and down the street. Although she doubted reinforcements had arrived yet, she wasn't prepared to bet on it. But as she stopped to look, the little Marrup, sarong held high to give his legs freedom, darted around the corner and ran smack dab into her. Growling, she grabbed him by the collar and lifted him until they were eye level to one another.

"I'm through with you," she said. "Go your own way."

"I mustn't," said the Marrup. "By the laws of my people, my life belongs to you for a year and one day. Since you have saved my life, I am yours and may not leave your side."

Riza cursed and gave the Marrup a shake. "And I suppose that's why you threw a chair at me."

"My aim has never been good," cried the man half in terror and the other half remorse. "I apologize with all sincerity. I was trying to hit one of those soldiers in the head." He drooped in self-reproach.

Riza laughed and let the man go. "Maybe you do belong to me now, and maybe you don't," she said. "We'll sort that out later. In the meantime, do you know this part of the city?"

The Marrup straightened his collar. "Like the back of my hand," he said.

"Then get us out of here," said Riza.

"This way, lady," said the Marrup, and he whisked off into the shadows.

(to be continued...)
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