Saturday, February 12, 2011

Quote of the Day

Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.

- Abraham Lincoln, 1809 - 1865

from Quotes of the Day newsletter

Friday, February 11, 2011


I finished my translation work for the day, and we are going to meet John's "connection" to do some grocery shopping and fast food munching on the base, so I suddenly found myself with a little free time.

So here, in no particular order, is a bit of what has been going on around here lately:

I think I mentioned getting the Wii Fit game, and I have been "playing" it for 30 minutes, 4-5 days a week. I woke up with a bit of a headache yesterday (stupid weather) and didn't feel up to exercising, but I kind of missed it. The wacky music and weird situations seem to have grown on me. For instance, in one game, my Mii character (an animated avatar of myself) is wearing a little penguin suit, and by shifting my weight from one side to the other, I can make my Wii slide on its stomach from one side of an iceberg to another to catch (and presumably devour, but they just disappear) fish. Or the soccer game where I am supposed to head balls that are kicked at me left, right, and center, but avoid being hit in the head with soccer cleats and panda heads. Mostly I like jogging, although John thinks I am mad. Most of the routes are rather short, 4-5 minutes, but even the 14 minute route is doable. I didn't think I would enjoy exercising this much, but I also don't try to do a specific routine or target certain areas. I just do what I feel like, whether that is yoga poses, jogging, balancing games, or snowball fight.

John bought me a food processor (at my request) for xmas, and I have been trying to finagle our uneaten fruit and such into new and delicious recipes. Banana cream pie was a win, although I was disappointed in the meringue topping. I've got breadmaking down, but eggs seem to be my Waterloo. On days when I don't have a lot of work, or I'm between gigs, I try to get more from-scratch cooking in. I have even managed to make some things that are rather healthy and get Hannah to eat them, like the blueberry muffin recipe I modified by using frozen mixed berries. She ate those in her school snack every day that week. We've gotten through about 3 loaves of fresh bread since xmas. I have even been making homemade yoghurt, just to see if I can. I found tips online at Salon in the food section and have had one ok batch and one quite good batch. I wonder if I could use straight cream to make some? Don't want it to go bad on me. I also made up my own muesli to eat with my homemade youghurt, and it is just sweet enough (thanks to the granola in it, I think) that it complements the sour yoghurt perfectly, or vice versa.

Some cooking has not gone so well, especially American recipes that call for very specific ingredients like corn syrup. It is not to be found here, and the sugar syrup I tried to make as a substitute was a disaster. Oh, yes, and anything based on eggs, like baked meringues. They were tasty, but the middle was way too chewy to me. With John's dental problems and Hannah's braces, I've just given up on making them for the foreseeable future.

John can't decide whether to be amused or horrified by the notes I make on my recipes: "J & H bitched about the lack of nuts" on a banana bread recipe. Seems like a perfectly legitimate reminder to myself, as far as I am concerned.

Last year, I planted carnations in my window boxes, but then I read on the seed package that they only bloom in the second year. The weather has turned warm-ish lately, so I went out and checked them, still in the box hanging on the balcony, and they seem to still be alive and generally unharmed. Plus there are a bunch of seedlings coming up in the other boxes, so I pulled all the dead stuff out of there to give them a little space, now that they seem to have taken root. I may not have to shell out much for plants this year.

My indoor plants seem to be doing ok, too. I think I didn't keep my poinsettia's covered long enough, though, because they didn't finish putting out the actual flowers in the middle. You can see here how they look stumpy.

Plus, I think this was originally a red poinsettia, which you can see streaks of on one of the bracts in this photo:

So it was a semi-success for xmas 2010. There's always next year, I guess.

The mystery citrus has pleasantly surprised me, once again. This is what I was looking at all fall and winter to date:
mystery citrus

I mean, look at that tangle of bare twigs! But then this started to happen just a week ago or so:
mystery citrus is budding!

Baby leaves! Now I'm glad I didn't start hacking away at like I had planned. I guess I will wait and do that in the summer when it has put out all its leaves and I can tell what is really dead.

I also finished reorganizing my office. I did it in two stages, well three, if you count swapping my desk and plants so the far end of the room is a hothouse and the other my office.
office reorg 2

office reorg 2

Now I have a handy bookcase with my work materials, two outlets for my gadgets, and I still have the great view. Plus, my stuff is out of the way for when the chimney sweep comes (only once a year, but still).

-Nee in Germany spends a lot of time at home

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Quote of the Day

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.

-Herman Melville, novelist and poet (1819-1891)

From the A.Word.A.Day newsletter (more info at