Saturday, October 31, 2015

Its That Time Again

Clock, Analog, Time, Watch, Analog Clock  Its that time of year when most people mutter and swear because in most of the states you have to change the clock.  This time, its one hour back taking us off daylight time to standard time.  There are a couple places that don't do that and I think they are smart.  It is such a pain to change clocks.

My dad said that it the clocks changed for those who want that extra hour in the summer to play tennis or have that BBQ after work.  Just for socializing.  Someone else, a farmer, told me that the cows still need milking at the same time and it doesn't matter what time the clock says, it needs to be done at the same point in the 24 hour period every day.

I know Ben Franklin thought it up and I know that it gets implemented quite frequently even in winter.  Some one told me that back in the 1970's during the gas shortage, the government decided to change the clocks in the middle of the winter so people were messed up.  Folks said they were getting up in the middle of the night, instead of seeing the beginnings of down.

I hate it.  I hate these little changes.  they mess my body up for a couple of weeks.  I feel out of step and I swear every time the alarms go off until I get used to the change.  Well this is my reminder to change your clocks tonight before you go to bed, to remember your body will get used to it and you'll adjust.  In the meantime, I"ll be in a state who doesn't mess with all this and it'll be another week before I have to remember my clocks. 

The best thing about today's technology is simply that people don't have to remember to change clocks because the WiFi signals tend to update the time and the dates.  So if you use the alarm on your phone you should still be on time.

Water.

Hawaii, Island, Tropical, Ocean, Beach  I am currently in transit to a week stay in Hawaii.  I'm presenting at a conference there and I am spending a couple days on each side of the conference to just relax and enjoy myself.  I also have to finish one presentation and rework the other one.  I just need time to do it.

The hotel I"m staying at only has internet in the lobby but they have some great furniture I can sit in and just work.  I arrive tomorrow just after dinner time.  I am going to walk down to the beach, even if its dark outside.  I want to put my feet in the Pacific Ocean just because. I also want to get up early on Sunday to watch the sunrise over the ocean, then pick up some hot breakfast from the little Korean hole-in-the-wall and sit down till later on. I might even pop over to Ala Moana Shopping Center to catch a hula show.  I will spend time working on my presentations and I want to sit on the beach and watch the sunset.

I will spend Sunday and Monday finishing the presentations.  Tuesday and Wednesday is the conference and then I'll relax Thursday and Friday before I head back to work. I already know that it will be hard to go back to work after being in Hawaii.  Every time I visit, I loose track of time and hate leaving.  Maybe I'll move there in a couple of years, who knows. 

Did I pack a camera?  Yes.  I plan to take some photos to add to my current collection.  Pictures I can look at when there is a cold snowy blizzard raging outside and I can't see anything past my porch.  Photos to warm me when I'm cold.  Photos to just have to enjoy. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Childhood

Yo-Yo, Toy, Playing, Boy Playing  Do you remember as a child playing that game called jacks? The one with the rubber ball and those little x shaped metal pieces?  I played them when I was young.  They came as a set but we always switched out a golf or tennis ball for the rubber ball because they were bigger and easier to control.

I've seen lots of children from elementary, middle school, and high school who play jacks every time they can.  They play before school, after school, at lunch and recess.  They are very good at moving to the sides so no one fall over them.

It is amazing how these children will play jacks all day long if they can. The other thing I see many of them do is play with string to create things such as the broom or play a game with it.  The same game I played as a child half way across the world from here.  I've been known to play with the children sometimes.  I forgot how much fun that can be.  It makes me miss my childhood sometimes.  Kind of like that song of "I don't wanna grow up!"

Finally is the eskimo yo-yo, a creation made of leather and string.  It is very similar to the Maori poi balls and used much the same way.  You have a pair of the balls and you have one going counter clockwise and the other going clockwise at the same time.  Once you get them going and have the rhythm just right, they can go and go and go.  I enjoy playing with them but I am so out of practice. 

I hope everyone gets a chance to revisit their childhood occasionally.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

New Beginnings

Ulsan, Sunrise, The Great Cancer  When life gets tough and its hard to think about anything, I love getting up for sunrise.  Sunrise signals the beginning of a new day where I can put the bad things behind me and look to the possibilities of better times.

I absolutely love watching the sky lighten, the rays start creeping from behind the horizon. I feel as if I'm watching a miracle as the sun majestically climbs above the horizon.  it always makes me feel so much better.

Right now, sunrise is around 9:30 or 10:00 so I can watch it from work.  Unfortunately, its kind of cloudy so I don't think sunrise will be spectacular as I'd like this morning but I can still enjoy pictures.  The pictures capture the beauty of sunrise and I can project it on a board at work so I'm surrounded by it. 

All of us have those hard days where we want to go home, hide and maybe cry.  The picture I used in this entry is making me feel so much better after several days of not good stuff.  I have always found beauty like sunrises and sunsets to be good for the soul.

I hope everyone's day is bright and beautiful today.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Nature

Sunset, Lake, Mountain, Scenery  I love the outdoors.  I do not like spending all my time outside, I prefer to spend bursts of time enjoying the moment when I see something that speaks to me.

Nature has two sides.  It has the side where it offers up beauty through the plants and animals that calms our souls.  It allows us that "Awe" moment when we see a baby animal wobble as it takes its first few steps.  I lucked out one time, I saw a calf being born when I wondered by a field with cattle.  Being a city girl at the time, I'd never seen anything born so that was cool. 

Spring, Tulip, Flower, Nature, Beauty I can spend hours watching grass blow in a breeze or blowers sway to the wind or ants as they march across the ground.  I especially love standing on my front porch in the winter to watch the Aurora as it swirls across the sky.

The thing about nature, is it also has an angry side where storms lash the land, destroying building and trees, flooding, and burying things in mud or snow.

There are cyclones that hit with such force that they blow windows out.  Tsunamis that flood an area and rip the buildings off their foundations.  Blizzards that dump so much snow at once you have to dig your way out of the house.  In a sense, nature is much like a child who has temper tantrums every so often.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Books vs Reality

Mango, Tropical Fruit, Juicy, Sweet I was just reading a book about a lady who read everything she could get her hands on about Tahiti because she wanted to go there.  She looked on line, she read people's experiences but when she got there, it wasn't quite as she imagined.

I love reading about gardening or beading, or several other topics but when I try something, it doesn't seem to come out quite as well as the pictures I've seen. 

I think it comes down to expectations.  When you research something, you feel as though you are an authority and know all about it but when you try it?  Well that is a different story.  I found this great pattern in a bead magazine for a bracelet.  I read the directions, looked at the pictures until I felt I could put it together blindfolded but when I tried doing it?  That is a whole different story.  Things slipped, the pearl wouldn't stay so I could get the beads around it to stay, and its in my pile to finish someday.

I forgot that until we do something, we really don't "know".  We can't experience the depth of anything until we do it.  I once discussed the taste of a mango with someone who had never had one.  I did my best to describe it but I also acknowledged that when she had her first one, her description might not meet mine at all.

Everything we hear, experience or feel in this world is colored by our interpretation of the event.  It will never be the same as anyone else's and is unique to that individual person.

I'll be heading off to Hawaii for a week beginning on Halloween and that experience will be different than every other time I've gone because its a different time period.  I am looking forward to this experience as I'll be going to a conference and presenting.  Have a good day.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Woman Cave

Cave, Cave Entrance, Caves PortalI mentioned to one of the guys at work that I needed to make me a woman cave to hide n when things get bad.  He informed me that women do not have caves!  When I asked how come, he couldn't answer.  Is the idea of a cave somewhere you can go hide, hang, and work on thing? 

I guess women have sewing rooms as their caves.  Its basically the same thing, a place where you can go to hide and do your thing. I know I"ll have something between a sewing room and a cave.  I have to have a room with my crafts, books, sewing machine, dance space, sofa to relax on and possibly a TV/CD player so I can just do everything I need.  It would be my place to escape to when I need that time alone.  This would not be a business office, its a place to relax, to explore, to be alone.

I also need my gardening space where I can start plants, grow my container plans, have my green house or polytunnel, worm farm area, compost heap and table and chairs in the middle of my flowing garden.  Last night I looked on line for places that offered certain unusual fruits and vegetables that are perennial and are edible.  I looked for things I could plant with an eye to having edible landscaping.  

In one book I saw this great backyard with a pool, a shaded place to lie down, an outdoor kitchen and so many plants you'd want to live outside all the time. I like the idea of having a place to cook when its too hot to cook inside.  It saves on energy and if the night is too hot, you could sleep outside where its nice assuming you don't have mosquitoes.  I wonder could your cave be something like that outdoors?  Or does it always have to be inside?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Take Me Away

Creek, River, Nature, Landscape, Forest    The past couple of weeks have been really hard and then yesterday happened!  There was a fire in town and it took one life and injured two others.  When you live in a very small place, things like this really hit hard.

In addition, there were four suicides in the next town over.  So many people between the two villages are related that it hit had.  The death yesterday was kind of the last straw mentally.  I am ready to just go hide for a few days.
Sunset, Landscapes, Sunrise, Cloud, Sun
There are times when I wish I had so much money, I could just take off on a whim.  One way I'm handling everything is to picture where I would go for a while.   You know, its interesting thinking about going somewhere different.  I would want to go somewhere closer to the equator or head towards the southern hemisphere where it is spring. 

So now that I have that restriction, I'm thinking Greece might be a great place to head off to except for all the financial problems they are having.  Of course, there is always Turkey, Algeria, or perhaps Egypt.  I have never been to that area so this would be perfect.

I've heard the food is great.  Maybe I could ride a camel or take dance lessons or just go where I want on impulse.   Since I can't do that, I can just make some food at home, put on some middle eastern music and pretend I'm somewhere else till Monday. Its called making due.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Paper Circuits

Circuits, Electronics, Atmel, Atmega328  Last night I took a beginning class on paper circuits.  I bet you are wondering what the heck a paper circuit is? I looked for information after I signed up for it.

It turns out that you use a conductive tape such as a thin copper tape that is kind of sticky and lay it down on paper.  There are small triangles with a thin layer of copper on the back and a light in the middle that you use to bridge a small gap in the copper tape.  Add two batteries at the positive and negative ends and voila you have a circuit that will cause the bulbs to light up.

Last night I put together two simple circuits.  The coolest thing about these circuits? You can integrate them into cards, notebooks, art work, math or anything you can write in.  One of the videos showed a piece of artwork with flowers that lit up and parts floated away when you blew on the flowers.  It looked so cool.

I saw another that was a drawing of the forest and if you touched it just right, lights would come on showing a path through the forest.  I also saw how it could be used in interactive math journals, in stories, in just about anything you could put in a journal.  It was sooo simple and awesome.

I'll get to go to the next class in about two weeks.  Its the intermediate class and I'll get a chance to try some more things.  Right now I can make simple circuits.  I hope I learn how to set these up so I can have lights go on and off to illustrate perhaps a concept almost like the person whose drawing showed a lit path through the forest.

I have left overs to play with over the next couple weeks before my next class.  I am off to have fun.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Snake on the Loose

Green Tree Python, Python, Tree Python A friend sent me information on a bus in Philly that was evacuated due to a four foot snake that got loose.  I gather it was quite exciting.  I don't believe there are wild snakes up here in Alaska because its way too cold so we wouldn't have that happen.

Imagine, being on a bus and finding a snake is loose.  I know most people will screech when they see a snake.  The science room at the local school has two snakes and one got loose a few years back. 

They took that room apart looking for the snake and they just couldn't find it.  No matter how hard they searched so they decided it was probably dead.  A few weeks later, the night watchman almost had a heart attack when he discovered the snake slithering down the hall.  I believe the science teacher got a call around 2 AM just after the event happened. 

I heard the night watchmen started carrying sticks so they could bash any other surprises to a pulp.  I think that's been the only animal ever to get loose but I've heard the science department has a shortage of frozen mice so the word is spreading around that the science teacher would appreciate any donations of recently dead mice to feed the snakes.......LOL.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Mochi

Mochi Ice Cream, Japanese, Confection  Every time I look at the boxes of sweet rice flour and cans of coconut milk, I think about making mochi.  I love mochi and every time I"m in Hawaii, I buy it and enjoy it so much.

If you haven't had mochi, its like a combination rice pudding/cake type of food that is Japanese and awesome.  There are about as many recipes for mochi as there are types.  Sometimes, the mochi is stuffed with a red bean paste or even ice cream.  Both are great.

The one I make is made with coconut milk and evaporated milk, sugar, rice flour, eggs and butter but it is rich in flavor.  I really enjoy it and the recipe I make gives me a huge pan worth of them.

I could make it chocolate flavored if I wanted which isn't quite as good unless you choose just the right type of chocolate.  It turns out really well with a bit of chocolate in the mixture to make it crunch.  mmmmmm.

The last time I was in Hawaii, I  found this awesome little booth at the Ala moana shopping center  food court that had wonderful flavored mochi like peanut butter, chocolate, mango and other great flavors.  Then there is the little hole in the wall at the Food Pantry that has mochi ice cream where the ice cream is surrounded by mochi of the same flavor as the ice cream.  The green tea one is great but the Sakura (Japanese Cherry) is spectacular. 

Originally, mochi was made out of pounded rice for New Years.  Sometimes in Hawaii, they still make it that way for New Years but I've never managed it.  It takes more time than I have available.  I won't get to the Big Island  but I know some who will be going through Hilo on their way to Honolulu  and he's going to pick up some artisan mochi from a small shop there.  Its so good, the screeners at the airport know the exact shop you got it from.  I can hardly wait to have it again. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Rememberences

Phone, Answering Machine, Play, Keys Yesterday, I looked at my answering machine and noticed there were 26 messages on it so its time to clear it off.  As I went through each message to see who it was from and what was being said, I realized I have a record of people's voices.  People who may or may not be alive.

On another machine, I have the last messages of a friend who died early due to a heart attack.  You know, he was one person you'd never think would that could happen to. He was always active.  When he was alive, he helped set up the ball for New Years in Times Square. In fact, the last time we were supposed to meet, we postponed it because we were going to meet in May.  In January, he had the heart attack and died.

Another voice, if that of a relative who died after living a very long life.  She left a short message letting us know she was well.  Its nice being able to listen to her voice and remember her.  Towards the end, she didn't call as much but she did make an effort.  I think the voice mail, is her last message.

Now we have voice mail on our cell phones where people leave voice messages.  This is a lovely digital version that lasts as long as you have the company and the cell phone voice mail box.  I know eventually the messages degrade and disappear but until that happens, I can play the message and remember the good times.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Dreams of the Perfect House

Holiday House, Summer House, Home  I don't know about you but I dream of either finding or building the perfect house.  Right now, I spend most of my time in a tiny one bedroom apartment in a four-plex.  It is perfect for one person but if someone spends the night, it becomes way to small.  I think its only 225 square feet at the most.  So I dream of moving into the perfect house. 

I expect it to be a decent size because I have quite a collection of books that I cannot bare to part with.  I've seen tiny houses but I don't think its for me because I like a certain amount of space.  I can picture the bathroom with the shower I want.  I want a huge shower whose head is over the door and sprays into the huge room with benches around the sides.  It will be big enough to relax in.  I also want a sauna to relax with.

Kitchen, Decoration, Kitchen EquipmentAs far as the kitchen, It needs to be open with lots of counter space and storage.  I love to cook and could spend hours at a time as I try new recipes.  I prefer making everything from scratch, bread, pasta, soup, kimchi, etc.  I need one that is big enough with a nice table to work on. 

Of course, I want the whole house to have an open feel so you don't feel enclosed.  That may come from living in small apartments during long, cold winters.  I want the sunlight to stream in, making it bright and cheery.

It also has to be one level so as I age, I can stay in it.  I think about the future when designing this in my head.  I need to start putting it down on paper so I can have it ready to go for when I win the lottery.......LOL.  I suspect I'll need a larger house for everything I want to do but we'll see.  I still have a couple years before I actually go look.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

10 Cool Facts about Snow

Frost, Ice Crystal, Ice, Form, Fabric The idea on today's blog came about when I opened my front door and found a light layer of snow on the ground.  I know its not very cold out there because I didn't see any ice on the lake and there was no chill in the air.  The snow just appeared overnight.  When I walked home around 10:30 last night, the sky was clear and filled with stars, so this was a total surprise.  There was even a prediction for auroral displays but I didn't see anything and I wasn't up late enough for it.

1.  Snow flakes can be identical!  Scientists found two identical flakes in Wisconsin back in 1988.

2. All snowflakes have six sides.

3.  If the temperature is cold enough, it may not snow because there is not enough moisture in the air.

4.  The average snow flake falls at just over 3mph.

5.  The largest recorded snow flake was just over 15 inches across and 8 inches thick.

6. Contrary to popular opinion, snow flakes are actually translucent.

7.  80 percent of the earths fresh water is frozen covering just over 12 percent of the planet.

8. Ten inches of snow melts down to one inch of water.

9.  There was a pink snow in Russia back in 2010 that was named watermelon snow because it both smelled sweet and tasted sweet.

10.  Snow often appears colored because it takes on the color of things by it or the light is filtered out.


Friday, October 16, 2015

My sister.

Tree, Oak, Old Oak, AestheticMy sister is a cancer survivor.  She went through breast cancer and beat that but unfortunately, her cancer came back in the form of bone cancer.  It is because of her, I've learned more than I ever expected on the topic.  She is not letting it get her down, she does not let it slow her down as much as she could.  In fact, rather than go on disability, she is continuing to work while undergoing cancer treatments. 

In addition, she is working on several things to benefit people who have to undergo cancer treatment so they still feel good about themselves and can move on.  As it comes closer to the time, I"ll reveal the projects but right now they are in the startup phase with building inventory, etc.

They cannot get rid of the bone cancer but they can contain it so she'll live another 15 or 20 years which means she'll live a long productive life.  I think its cool the way she is determined to survive and not give in.  Yeah!!!!! Sis.

The reason for this short column is that October is Breast Cancer Month.  Know that there is research being done on a vaccination for a type of breast cancer that should be available in the next 5 or 6 years.  There is always hope for those who are diagnosed with cancer. 


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Beautiful!!!!!!

Star, Sky, Graphic, Night, Background  This morning, around 7:15, when I walked to work, I looked up at the sky and ohhhh my.  The sky was sooooo clear, I could see all the stars twinkling through the dark blanket of night.

I could see each and every star clearly.  I spent most of my trip to school looking upwards trying to figure out which group of stars made up Orion's Belt, and other constellations. 

I wished for more time so I could pull out my star gazing apps and telescope to enjoy the heavens.  Unfortunately, I had to look down every so often so I didn't trip over the dirt or my own feet.  It has been quite a while since I've had the chance to enjoy such a crystal clear view of the night skies.  This made my day.

I spoke with others who walked in and they said they same thing. The sky was so beautiful that everyone had to look at it.  They couldn't keep their eyes on the ground at all and found all the holes, the puddles, everything.  There was a touch of frost on the stairs, the ground, etc.

I don't know when we'll have such a wonderful view of the skies again but maybe tomorrow night, if its clear, I'll stay up and check for the aurora since it was wonderfully strong the other night.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Expensive Dog and of course Cats!

Bordeaux, Dog, De, Dogue, Water, Muddy A couple years ago, I read about a Tibetian Mastiff in the newspaper.  You would think that a dog can be special but not $2 million special!  You read that correctly.  This variety of Mastiff resembles a baby lion and is considered a luxury item for the newly rich Chinese.  Can you imagine paying so much for an ancient dog just because its a status symbol?   I know I could use the $2 million on other things.

Sphynx, Cat, Race Cat, Bald, Hairless
Sphinx
On the other hand, I've periodically seen a cat that looks like an owl with its fur spread out all around its face and looks like feathers while another looks kind of like a combination cat/dog.  Check this one out.  Its called a Sphinx.

Sofa, Couch, Cat, British ShorthairThis next one looks so much like the cartoon character "Garfield" but its a British short hair cat.

I've heard that certain cats can be quite protective.  Years ago, I had a friend who owned a Siamese cat.  Apparently, the landlady came in one day without giving 24 hour notice and the cat attacked her.  She called the police who came to investigate.  My friend invited them in and the police sat down. The cat climbed in a lap, purring and being so friendly. So the cops were surprised to find out that the "attack" cat was seated in their laps.......LOL.

Cat, White, Fur, Blue Eyes, BeautifulAnother friend had a cat who had such short legs, her tummy dragged on the ground.  It was fun watching the cat go up and down the stairs while its tummy dragged along the stairs.

I do not own any animals right now because of my situation.  In the past, I've had dogs, cats, birds, and of course the mandatory fish in the fish bowl.....LOL.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Roughing It!

Hotel, Berlin, Kurf├╝rstendamm, CityIf I say Hotel, what do you picture?  A stark room that has a perfectly made bed, a television, perhaps a chair and a desk? Or do you see something a bit more used because the place is older than time with lingering smoke in the walls and carpets.  A smell from the past that teases your nose? 

If you visit Alaska and fly out to one of the remote villages, you might or might not find a hotel.  Instead of a hotel, you might find a lodge or a hotel whose rooms barely hold a bed!

Of course, you will find hotels in places like Bethel, Barrow, Nome or other larger places. Yes, I know many of you consider a town of 7000 to be small but up here, its large.  The problem with hotel rooms in those places is that if you can find a room for say $70 per night, it might be over a bar or you might find working girls there.  If you want a better quality room, prepare to spend $140 to $200 per night for a small plain room.

If you end up in a village, you'll probably pay $35 or so to sleep in the school on the floor.  Schools double up as hotels because there are no other places to stay.  Its not bad.  Sometimes, there are air mattresses but usually there is carpet.  The carpet is really quite comfortable.

Of course, for the adventurer, there is a hotel made of solid ice that only exists in winter out east of Fairbanks.  I'm told you have to wear full winter gear because its so cold.  Not something I'm interested in but some people like it. I heard there is an ice hotel in Norway that charges over $600 per night.  Wow.  What do you think?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Travelogues/Cookbooks

Thailand, Asia, South-East Asia, Tourism  I love looking at places I'd love to go check out, visit, or maybe move to.  When I was in college, I thought I'd go hike up in Nepal when I graduated or maybe go backpacking around Europe.  I thought about those things because its what you do as a twenty something.

I didn't make it to Europe till much later and I'm still looking at taking time to wander around Asia.  I've been reading some of the newer type of cookbooks.  Cookbooks that are travelogues combined with recipes they discovered on their travels.

I love reading about stopping in a little hole in the wall noodle shop and providing a recipe for a noodle dish.  I often take the recipe and adjust it slightly so I can make it with the materials I have in my kitchen at the time.  I cannot just pop down to a specialty store to get things, I have to order them in.

It is fun wondering what it might be like now to follow the same path as the authors of the book.  Is the little hotel they talked about in each village still there?  Is the noodle maker there with her small stall?  Is the ferry where it was?  I realize each book is a glimpse of someone's life at a certain point in time.  Its a verbal snap shot that draws us in and makes us really enjoy ourselves.

I end up reading this type of took again and again just because the descriptions draw me in.  Hmmmm, maybe some day I could do a trip and collect recipes to create my own travelogue.  Perhaps I'll publish it for family members only.  Who knows.  Its a thought.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Geez, not again

Canoe, River, Boat, Paddle, Nature, Lake When stupid things happen at work, I start wondering if I should take off somewhere or hang in there for a couple more years so my retirement fund has more to live on comfortably.  I don't know about you but I sometimes think I live in a soap opera.

I've heard Belize is a nice place to live in, especially if you are over a certain age and have a minimal monthly income. The housing doesn't look too bad pricewise but it is rather far away from people and I suspect the cost of ticket for visiting the United States might be expensive.

 I have a friend who is older, who looked at Belize but ended up in Thailand because he fell in love with a lovely Thai lady.  I've heard Thailand is a nice place to go but I'm not sure about it because I think they've had some unrest occasionally. On the other hand, Guam might be a nice compromise because it is still part of the United States but still far away.

What my older friends tell me is to look at medical costs, medical quality and its availability to people, especially if you could have heart issues or other things.  Yeah, I know that at 20 we don't think about it but once you hit a certain age you think more about it or you have a life altering event that makes you look at those things.  My sister has cancer so she needs to live in a place with good cancer treatments.  I know someone who ended up permanently disabled due to a car wreck so he has to think about those issues even though he's not that old.

So now I'm down to the question of do I throw it all away to head off to search for my Utopia or do I hang in here a couple more years till I am set for retirement and then search for my Utopia?????  I don't know.  Knowing me, I'll play it safe and dream about things.  On the other hand, if I wait a couple of years to chuck it all away, I could visit places to see if I'd like them enough to live there.  That might be a good compromise......LOL.

Friday, October 9, 2015

It Finally Arrived.

Seasonings, Soy Sauce, White, Saucer  The other day, my artisan soy sauce from Kentucky arrived.  It came in a small square whiskey bottle with a label with information including the batch number. 

Up until now, I've only had the usual soy sauce like Kikkoman or Aloha Soy Sauce.  Its what I grew up with but then I tasted this and its as different from the Kikkoman as day is from night. 

I realize that sounds very cliche but its the truth.  Stealing from a commercial I vaguely remember "A little bit will do it".  The flavor was fantastic.  I used just a bit and that was really all I needed. 

I added a little bit to a bowl of rice with kimchi just to try it out.  The flavor of the soy sauce wove the rice and kim chi together, taking it from three individuals to a trio in perfect harmony.  Ohhhhh it was ecstasy.  This was full-bodied and makes the other look like a pale imitation.  I may keep the other in the cupboard for the days when I need to use it in huge quantities but I already have plans to try this new soy sauce in with the eggplant I'm going to cook in coconut milk.  I am hoping it turns the whole dish from average to a symphonic experience.

In the meantime, I ordered another artisan soy sauce from Japan or Korea.  I know its one of those two countries based on the description accompanying the picture.  I found out there is an artisan maker on the Big Island of Hawaii.  I know someone who is going there next month, so I'll have him stop and pick me up a bottle.  <Grins>  O.K.  so maybe I'm going to develop into a soy sauce connoisseur.......LOL. 

In case you are wondering, I believe that the food we eat should be an experience and not just something to shovel into our faces because we need to eat something.  I love food that has layers of flavor that burst upon your tongue and then chase each other around your mouth as you anticipate its climax before swallowing.  I know its not always possible but that may be why I'd rather cook my meals than eat out.....LOL.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Count Down

In about three weeks, I"ll be in Hawaii at Schools of the Future
conference both attending and presenting at it. I'll be going from rainy, muddy and or snowy to delightful tropical weather.  It will be the beginning of November when it will still be warm enough for me to enjoy the temperature difference.

I actually enjoy Hawaii at any time of the year.  This is my second trip this year for technology conferences. Last time I was there, I took a submarine trip.  This time, I'm debating if I want to go on a round the Island tour or keep my memories from long ago when things were less crowded.   Its like my father talks  about when he lived there as a boy and how things have changed so much since then.  I know everything changes but our memories of long ago still leave us with rose colored glasses. 

I remember a small place downtown my parents used to get Kona Coffee and a coconut candy that was so good that it made you feel as if you were walking on clouds.  Of course, there was the shop with lemon peel and dried cherry seed.  Then one must not forget Li Hing Mui, a dried seed eaten with lemon.  Yum. Do I still eat these things?  When I can.  There are some things you never forget from your childhood, that will stay with you until the end of time.

Will I take the tour?  I don't now yet.  I might just hop a bus and ride it out to the far reaches of Oahu to visit Hanama Bay or maybe go to Sea Life Park.  I don't know but I love the possibilities.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Storm Ravaged.

Flood, Tennessee, River, Damage, Danger  The other day a storm blew in.  One that you might not have heard of but severe enough to cause flooding and other problems in a town, just down the coast and around the bend.

Here it felt a bit like a Nor-Eastern of the type you might experience in Maine.  The wind blew hard enough to turn rain drops into stinging missiles that pelted us hard.  Even the water in the lake was blown to the shore and the river eroded more of the edges.  Some of the boats were pushed into others but it wasn't bad.

At least compared to our neighbors who are directly on the sea.  Many of their boats were thrown against the shore, putting holes in the sides or shoving water over the side so the boats partially sank.  Many boats will need serious repair.   Its going to be hard for those people because their boats are an intimate part of their lives, much like a car is for most people. 

They use the boat for travel, hunting, fishing, living and it is their lifeline to survival.  I realize you may think I'm exaggerating but what would happen to you if you had no car and no bus system.  No way to go get your dinner?  It would be hard.  I'm not sure there was enough wide spread damage to call it a disaster area.  I don't think it made more than the local news.  Still all in all it was devastating for people there.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Sun

Sunset, Field, Nature, Meadow, Sun  The sun finally came out today and as I write this, I've had to close my blinds  and its around 8 PM.   The sun just hit the point where its streaming in the windows and blinding my eyes. 

Although the sun is still setting around 8 or 9 PM, it doesn't rise till around 8 or 9 AM.  By Christmas, the sun rises by around 11 AM and sets by 5:30 PM but I know people who live in a place where the sun sets around November and rises in January!

Imagine!  Watching sun set below the horizon, never to come up above the horizon till January!  I can see you right now, picturing it being totally dark, like the middle of the night but you'd be wrong.  Even though the sun does not actually rise past the horizon, there will be some light sneaking up.  In the dead of winter, it will be dark but you still might see a glow in the distance.   Soon you'll be seeing more and more light peering up just above the horizon until one day, the sun is visible.

Is it hard?  It can be.  I don't like long periods of dark.  I handle it by having lots of lights on.  Even when I visit places with a decent amount of light, I still have to have lots of light.  I do best in the summer with tons of sun.  I don't like it from about October to March as far as day light but after March, I get really happy.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Igloos

Igloo, Eskimo, Home, Polar, Ice, SnowThere is this weird idea that people in Alaska live in igloos.  Last I checked, most people live in regular houses with kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms, and the usual doors and windows.

Yes, I have seen igloos but no one lived in them.  They were created by the elementary students at the local school for educational purposes in the spring.

In this area, the original housing were sod houses made of salvaged wood and dirt for those who were not nomadic.  I understand that igloos may have been used by hunters but now, hunters rely on their tents, stoves and other modern accessories.

Every year, during Cultural Heritage week, student and adults cut blocks of ice out of the snow and ice, clear off a spot on the lake and build one on the frozen lake.  Honestly, the minute the temperature starts rising, the material starts melting and it oozes into the ground.

Recently we've been having so much rain that we are joking about making igloos out of mud. One of the ladies I know told me to let her know how mud works out because she could use an addition on her house.......LOL.  Today any temporary building would have had issues.  We had a nor-Easter blow in and it was nasty today.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Bento

Hello Kitty, Cartoon, Japanese, FestivalLunch Box, Lunch Dishes, Korean  I love bento!  I love bento boxes for lunch.  Bento is used for small lunch boxes which can be one layer or multiple layers that stack.  You might have one in the shape of a square, or a samurai or even a kitty face.  It might come with a bag, chopsticks or a spoon and fork.
Photo credit: munkayo, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

In the US, we see small plastic ware that is divided into multiple small compartments or a large container with small pieces that fit inside the larger container.  Although there are books and blogs on bento giving mostly Japanese foods, you don't have to stay fully traditional.  The basic idea is simply to have a variety of food in small portions rather than the peanut butter or bologna sandwich of your childhood.  No more need for those smalls of chips, cookies or bags of cut vegies.

You can put small portions of leftovers from last nights dinner in it.  I often make enough for lunch and dinner for a couple days.  One of my favorites is rice and channa dahl with some naan bread and a few veggies or eggplant in some form with rice and kim chee and narrow sliced raw veggies and fruit?  I sometimes make an oriental salad or include those thinly slice Japanese omelets. 

I own some supplies to turn rice into cute little panda or other shaped balls.  I've got green "grass" dividers to separate items, small tubes for soy sauce and other liquids, nori cutters, etc.  In other wards, I can have a blast and make my lunches interesting.  If I don't feel creative, I just put the food together in it and enjoy.

I love it because I get enough to eat to be full but not enough to overeat.  Its perfect for me.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Changing Language

Home Office, Workstation, Office  I didn't realize how much language is changing until I looked for a picture of a notebook.  About 98 percent of the pictures I found were of various computers but I was looking for the old fashioned ones that people wrote in during school, or created a story. 

I realized that other words are changing meaning.  One is tablet.  It used to refer to something in stone, now its a mobile device although I've seen cell phones the size of a small tablet.  Its kind of strange watching someone answer a phone that is so large.....LOL

In addition, even our everyday language is changing with LOL, YOLO, ROFL, etc.  Yes, I got an e-mail from someone the other day that included quite a lot of what I refer to as texting language.  I know the local English teacher fights that in compositions......LOL. 

Even some general words have changed in meaning from something bad to good to bad to all over the place.  I saw Night and Day with Tom Cruise and in there a term was used to mean whore.  I was asked by one of the folks in our group what it meant and I said "Ho!"  She was like "I wouldn't mind being called that!"  I explained it was not being nice to the lady in there.  So yes, language is changing and its fun to watch it do that.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Cooking With Exotic Ingredients

Food, Salad, Spicy, Pan, Hot, Cooking  I love cooking and the type of cooking requires that I use some rather exotic ingredients such as lemon grass, galangal, dried mango powder, roasted red pepper paste, green curry, red curry, black sesame seeds, etc.

Yes, I love Asian influenced cooking.  I found two ways to cook eggplant that are awesome.  One involves coconut milk, roasted red pepper paste, sweetened soy sauce and broth, while the other involves lime juice, lemon grass, garlic, ginger, oil and soy sauce.  Both are so good.

Understand, I live in a place where it is so hard to get most ingredients so I have to shop online and have them mailed out to me.  I love that I can order these exotic ingredients.   I bought a box of traditional Indian spices so I can make all the Indian dishes I want.  I have a cabinet full of ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes so I can make Kim Chee for myself and coworkers.  I absolutely love Kim Chee in rice or soup.  Ohhhh yum.

I was over at the Philippino store the other day, just before I left the big city to head out and I discovered they had instant coconut milk.  You add water and cook.  That is so cool because those cans get heavy and I was able to purchase 40 packets to bring out in my luggage.  They also had frozen Kaffer leaves, galangal roots and a couple other things.  I put them in a small portable ice chest to bring out. 

I am eating so well right now.  I love getting the food I like.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Fireplaces

As the temperature drops and the weather starts getting cruddy, I begin to long for a fireplace.  Yes, those brick fireplaces set in a wall.  The ones that are no longer socially acceptable because they do little to really heat houses.

You know the scene.  The nice warm room with a fur rug, a nice snugly armchair, a cup of hot cocoa with floating marshmallows and best of a roaring crackling fire.

Fireplace, Firefox, Tree, Fire, FlameI would not be sitting in the chair.  I would be on the fur rug, two soft pillows under my head, and a throw blanket over me.  I'd be near enough to the fire to enjoy the heat but far enough away not to catch on fire.  My hot cocoa would be in a spill proof cup because its too easy to lose a full cup of liquid when you lie on the floor.

Hmmm, I might even have some marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers so I can make Some' mores when I get hungry.  Mmmmmm, I love those ooooey, goooooey confections.

I bet you are wondering what brought this on?  It was a miserable day of rain, cold, and wind that blanketed the area after a lovely morning.  The type of weather that makes you want to stay home in front of the fire and never leave till it clears up.  I don't have a fire place but one of my coworkers bought one of those fake fire places so she can sit in front of it when the heat goes down.  Me?  I just wrap up in more blankets.