I promised y´all and myself a quick break of sorts from all the recent Mission Europe planning. I mentioned a few tactics I have been using to keep the usual insanity level at a healthy balance… I will now elaborate on these tactics:
1. Italian Classes
My usual commute ANY time i need to go ANY where lasts approximately 2 hours on public transportation. The 2 hours consist of walking 3km (1.86 miles) down a hill to the closest bus, riding said bus between 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes (depending on traffic), walking to another bus, waiting for an average of 15 minutes for it to arrive and then more bus riding ensues for the next 15 to 40 minutes until a final destination is reached. I have been using a lovely email based Italian program from the BBC and combined it with free podcasts from an online Italian program and go through about 6 to 12 lessons each time I commute. I hope at this rate my Italian will at least be somewhat better than last time. I understand about 90% of the audio files, although speaking it is entirely another matter. While I know this is not really a distraction from mission Europe, I feel it is a wise use of otherwise wasted time traveling to and from different places. May I add that this only describes one-way travel. Generally speaking, I employ the same method both ways, although from time to time the return trip does vary.
2. Recipe Testing
Of all the recipes I learned during my trip to Europe in 2010, I was quite fond of an Austrian pastry called Germknödel, but had not been able to find the ingredients to make it. I finally found fresh yeast, european plum jam and I had a bag of ground poppy seeds from Austria. I figured, now was as good a time as any…so why not? I got out my recipe notes kindly sent to me ages ago from my friend Björn Steinmetz and set to work. I set out the ingredients and equipment. I made a few mistakes, all fixable when I choose to do a second round. The results were so tasty that I forgot to take a photo of the finished product! Oh well, I guess that is just a lovely excuse to repeat the process, so as to have photographic evidence. I also made “sun” dried tomatoes with the dehydrator I received for Christmas and cooked a new variety of bean I found at the farmer´s market.
3. Blog Following
I do not have as much free time lately as I used to, although hopefully that will also swing back into balance soon. On the upside, in looking for fresh reading material I found 3 blogs that I am now following for different reasons and I thought I would share them with y´all:
- The Dissemination of Thought: I read a piece that the author (whose real name remains elusive) wrote related to cooking, if it can be called that. The post had me laughing in all the right kind of ways on a morning where I was not even aware I needed it. His writing is refreshing, blunt and I have made a secret mental note to someday meet this guy in person and cook together while getting intoxicated.
- 50 Items or Less: A multi authored blog that posts poetry or thoughts in a poetic form depending on how your perspective is placed. This blog struck a chord with me not only making me realize how long it had been since I wrote a poem, but also how long it had been since I read someone else´s thoughts and enjoyed them. Since following them I wrote 2 modern style haikus while planning a Japanese cultural event, that I will share with y´all now:
Sometimes breathing just is not enough…perhaps I will stop for a while
- Bucket List Publications: Last but certainly not least, this blog is quite special. The woman behind it, Lesly Carter, for lack of a better description is a C.B.A (Certified Bad Ass). She is a wildly spunky, adventurous broad who I would also like to meet. Upon finding this blog, I made another secret mental note to become a sponsor to it as soon as I have any money to spare. I have a bucket list of my own, one I tend to keep to myself, but this blog inspired me to add a new item. I may not currently live in the USA and I have recently noticed that a large portion of people I know are in some branch of the military. I do not know enough about the politics behind the current situation, but I can say that regardless of why they are sent to protect us, these men and women have all my respect for believing in a cause and standing up for it. I would be honored to provide them with something that could express that respect and what better way to do it than with a well cooked meal?
So there y´all have it. That is the end of my recent distractions. Other than that, I have changed a few things around on the blog (let me know if you notice) and have been trying to log decent sleep hours. I have been setback with a new set of legal issues and will be traveling back to my hometown for the next two weeks. I have already inquired among friends to see if anyone will let a grown woman set up a lemonade stand on their lawn and try to raise money for her upcoming educational trip. If I get a green light and an extension cord, I will be halfway to making frozen lemonade for sale on a Texan sidewalk. Wish me luck. Mission Europe updates soon to follow.