Friday, November 16, 2012
I believe one thing is misisng from his list so I would add #21 Vacation is Sacred. One thing I am taking away from German is the importance of using your vacation days and the ability to appriciate that a vacation should not be less than 2 weeks. Although I will never lose the instant frustration that comes with finding out the person you need to answer your phone call/email is on vacation for the next 3 weeks with no one to handle his or her correspondence in this time.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Sunday, October 21, 2012
We are moving to a furnished apartment which seems nice until you remember I like furniture and I especially like refinishing wooden chairs and building things. So I guess that's one hobby that will have to be put on hold for a bit. On the plus side, we are able to bring some pieces so my chair projects and hall table don't have to be donated just yet. On the down side, my efforts to sell any of our furniture have all but failed. I keep telling myself I will put in more effort and sell something but finding better ways to use my time (even if watching new fall TV has been counted among those ways). I had a large trash day last week which helped kick start getting rid of furniture and ironically also helped my downstairs neighbor refurnish her apartment. I had hours of entertainment watching her commandeer our computer chair, wooden shelves, and 2 sofas and then replace them with her old sectional. Actually entertaining was watching the trash pile morph over 24 ish hours. I just need to share the play by play. I started putting things out around 18:00 and a friend came to help me with some of the larger pieces an hour later. We got everything on the curb around 20:00 on Tuesday evening for a Thursday morning pick up. I said goodbye to my friend and hello to my neighbor as she went out to walk her dog. As soon as I got back to my apartment I noticed the microwave which has been broken for about 2 months and needed to go out so I walked back downstairs microwave in hand and saw the same neighbor returning her dog from the shortest walk ever. I put my microwave out and she was right behind me asking about the status of the computer chair. I laughed as she offered it a new home and went back to my 3rd floor living room. Upon hearing some noise, I peeked out the window to see her beginning to carry the rest of her treasures in. Oddly enough one of the shelves she picked up had spent about an hour sitting in my hall with a free sign but she lives below me so never saw it. We would have happily delivered everything into her apartment for her and saved ourselves from putting it outside. A few hours later, I looked out and saw her white sofa had replaced my black one and a few additional pieces were gone. I noticed someone picked up P's old stereo but didn't get all the speakers. The microwave was sitting oddly far off to one side and someone even dumped the wire hangers and broken glass out of a small plastic trash can in order to take the trash can - who does that! I went to bed and then looked out in the morning. Overnight the pile was pillaged. Mostly everything was gone except for a piece of deconstructed Ikea furniture, an old rug, a metal TV stand with lots of candle wax on it, a broken picture frame and 3 broken suitcases. Maybe I should also explain that means someone picked up the broken microwave, 2 printers without cables, a computer tower, a cable box, old drapes, the wire hangers, 2 random light fixtures, a paper floor lamp, and the rest of the speakers even though the main unit was already gone. By the time I showered and left for work I noticed there were additions beyond the white couch, someone dropped 2 blue chairs, an orange paper lantern and a few fake flowers. In the 45ish minutes since I woke to walking out my door someone also picked up 1 of the broken suitcases and when I got home, the TV stand, other 2 suitcases and rug were gone. My the time the trash was collected the only things left that I actually put out were the broken picture frame and the disassembled Ikea which was in terrible shape as we broke some of the pieces and could not be rebuilt. I know this is very mundane and not interesting but it was the first time I threw out big trash and was able to watch the evolution from what was planned for pick up and what ended up being picked up. It also made me really happy to know that even though I failed to sell any of our furniture most of it is still staying out of the landfill. I'm happy to know that I didn't create unnecessary trash and clearly made at least my neighbor happy with a new to her sofa that was an unexpected improvement over what she had. I'm actually curious to see how they are arranged in her apartment but I guess I'll never know as 3 years was not enough time to get to know many of my neighbors. I saw that with a bit of disappointment in myself for not being a friendly neighbor but also with a bit of satisfaction that I dodged the bullet of having to get to know the
Did I mention I am sad to leave this city? Because I just am.
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
This is my last month at the University and my last month in Germany. I guess that needs another post but suddenly its all so real. It is one of those OMG (I use this expression in an effort to convey emotion and keep it PG, in my head I am thinking of some more intense words but this is a public forum) moments. I am moving out of one major phase of my life and into a new one.
I have about 5 major projects on my desk at the moment and am not sure how I am going to get them all done before Oct 26th. I also found out I have a few vacation days I didn't know I had so I need to use those in that time too. In an effort to try and get on top of my to do list, I am planning to head to work on the holiday tomorrow. Oct. 3rd is to Germans what the 4th of July is to Americans. As a foreigner, I get the significance but I need to get a presentation finalized and off my desk. Besides, I've already agreed to help a friend with some painting so there's my celebration for the day!
I think I need to add to my list, "learn to savor the moment" as I find myself constantly thinking of what's next. Right now, I am a Doctor and that feels good. In the spirit of savoring I should note this was not an easy process and I learned a lot about myself. I realized my limitations and my abilities quite clear. I learned that I can lean on my support system and I am sure I would not have made it this far if I did not have such great family and friends. So, to no one in specific and to everyone who was there when I needed to vent, asked for proof reading help or just encouraged me to not give up when I was beyond frustrated, Thank you.
Once I get them, I will post photos of my graduation cap so I can officially check the Dr. title off my list.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
1. Visit a new continent.
4. Get a career focused job.
5. Lose 5 Kg by Christmas (fail), 5 more by February and 5 more by June to be down 15 kg total by Aug.
6. Swim twice a week May - August.
7. Apply for 3 jobs that are "reach" positions.
8. Run the MA half marathon (June).
9. Run twice a week for an hour each time.
11. Learn to make 3 different 3-course dinner menus well.
12. Write and mail one card per month for 6 months.
13. Create an "adult" wardrobe - maintain both fashion and function.
14. Be more assertive in life.
15. Bake a birthday cake for someone else.
17. Upholster the coffee table as an ottoman. - This needs to change as we threw out the coffee table.
18. Finish my second black chair and
19. Do something nice for soemone else, even if it is not easy.
20. Start a Kiva account.
21. Update this blog weekly.
22. Get my domain in line - email address functional and decide what to do with the page.
23. Do something nice for my extended family.
24. Spend time with my sister-in-law.
25. Climb a Swiss mountain.
26. Bike tour - somewhere that involves about 2 hours biking each way.
27. Run a 5k.
28. Run a 10k.
29. Hike somewhere wearing my new hiking boots.
30. Celebrate 30 with people I love. (booked Greece with P and Net98! anyone else want to join?!)
So, here I go! I have some personal fitness goals, alturistic goals, life enhancing goals, personal growth and plain enjoyment. Hopefully I can make it through all of them in the next 12 months. Photos to prove achievement will follow.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
- Recap past travels to Italy, Philadelphia, as well as a future European trip with my parents.
- Plan a nice vacation for November...hopefully to a new continent.
- Talk about my dissertation writing journey, particuarly what I have learned about myself during the process as well as some 20/20 insights.
- Packing up and making a big move.
- Applying for jobs...hopefully having multiple offers to contemplate.
- Spending time with my family and friends in RI (this is a December goal)
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
As I folded my clothes, I realized this polo had seen better days. But that is just when they get so soft and cozy. Looking at the size (it is a kids 14-16 don't judge the boys are cut longer than womens sizes) it looked about perfect for my throw pillows. I have 4 throw pillows that have also seen better days and while I have big plans for them in the future they are now acting as floor pillows since their covers are not removable. So long story short...add a large button and about 6 inches if ribbon to serve as the loop. Tuck the shirt in and around the pillow envelope style button the neck pop the collar and 5 minutes later I have a soft, washable pillow cover that matches my duvet cover and is cute and preppy all at the same time.
For reference the pillows are 20 inches square and my shirt is the perfect width to fit without being loose and sloppy so I would recommend a womens M or boys L if you plan to outfit a similar sized pillow. I have 3 more pillows but am not ready to sacrafice any more polos just yet.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Over Easter, we decided to take a mini break to Spain.Specifically the southern Atlantic coast of Spain. On our agenda was relaxation, ocean, Gibraltar and maybe Morocco. I loved the idea of touching 3 countries on 2 continents in a span of 4 days but in the end relaxation and the ocean won out over Africa. When this is your balcony, you would choose to spend as much time as possible here too.
We had both been to Spain before on vacation as teenagers and for work more recently. We thought about Barcelona but then decided to go further south and ultimately revisited a hotel P stayed at with his family in the past. It also happened to be the one I found via Google maps when looking for something near to the beach.
There's so much I could tell you about this location that won me over in the end. I think I will start with the photos because even though they can't do justice to the location, they still make me swoon. I should also note that these photos were taken on my red Japanese video camera and have not been edited in any way because I am way to lazy to learn photo shop any time soon.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Friday, April 20, 2012
I had an amazing Easter weekend in Spain. Eventually, I will post the photos. I will also pick a few favorites to fram and hand in my apartment and actually do it this time. The photos are that impressive and the vacation was that good. I can highly recommend Conil de la Fuentera and if you want more info before I post about it, just ask.
I booked a flight for my next "mini break." Great friends are gettign married 2 weeks before I hand in my dissertation and it will surely be the peak of my stress but it is so important to me that we are there. They flew across the country to celebrate with us and I was happy to have them so I am happy to do the same, remove country, insert Atlantic. I am actually really looking forward to a long weekend in the US. I just need to get myself in line so I can enjoy it with minimal stress.
I am looking forward to breakfast at my fav. cafe with my husband tomorrow morning. I know this is a small thing but sometimes the small things are exciting and should be savored.
I have two pallets on my balcony waiting for my attention. I dread the sanding process but would really like to do something with them so they are 1) off my balcony, 2) useful, and 3) I realized I really enjoy nailing. I also really enjoy painting so I will most likely use this as an excuse to pick up another color. I think I will make the smaller one into a shoe rack as I am constantly running out of places to put my shoes. On the construction front, I also need a board to make my entryway table more useful, maybe I can combine the two somehow. Measuring tape required.
I like to releive my stress via sports. I did 3 sessions of training this week instead of 2 as well as biking to work 4 of 5 days and it is a huge difference in my productivity and attitude. I hope I can work some more running into my routine in the coming weeks as I am running in a team marathon on May 11.
I think I may head out "early" today and ride my bicycle to the Turkish grocery store for olives and wraps. It really is the little things like finally a day of sunshine to ride my bike and the promise of olives that make me excited. There's also a second hand store around the corner which has a nice selection of furniture, maybe I will stop in for inspiration.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
In the past, I have been overloaded with inspiration after one of Sherry and Katie's Pinterest Challenges. However, I never had a project to add. This time I have two which came together in the right time frame to participate. In this post, I will detail my new candle holders. The other project is the final reveal of my white and grey chairs which will get their own post. If you want to read the rules and check out the hosts and other participants head over to YHL for over 600 links and be prepared to get sucked into the creativity. You have been warned.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
I planned to bake 5 cakes in all, 4 using authentic recipes from German Omas and one following a recipe from the internet, Guinness chocolate cake as a nod to the upcoming St. Patrick's Day that Germans do not celebrate. Last summer, for my birthday, my wish list included baking items and family cake recipes and my colleagues really came through. However, this was the first time I was getting around to actually trying to bake these cakes. Unlike the internet, family recipes tend to have less instruction and leave more room for interpretation which was pretty intimidating for me. Also, each cake called for 4 eggs so 30 eggs, 1.5 kg of flower, 300g nuts, Guinness, cream, and lots of sugar later I had everything I needed to spend the day baking. And then this happened...
Luckily that had nothing to do with my baking. I dropped a flower pot that had been holding spare change while moving something in the kitchen. The kitchen which I had so thoroughly vacuumed just hours before. You can also see we have replaced the industrial strength wet/dry vac with a Dyson which is A-mazing. Minor set back but moving on to cakes...
I found the inspiration for this Chocolate Guinness cake online and it did not disappoint. It was rich and moist and even though I made mine in a different pan than suggested, I did not have a problem getting the intended results. I didn't get leftovers either as P took the rest to his office. I will make this again even if it is not near St. Patrick's day.
This is a Fanta cake, make with Fanta orange soda. It kind of looks like a volcano so I just went with it when adding the glaze and let it pool at the base. The cake and glaze both have a slight hit of orange but more in the way that it tastes fresh than in an overwhelming this is an orange flavored cake. It is also very moist and tastes like a classic birthday cake. We got to enjoy the leftovers for breakfast at our department meeting Monday morning. The only part I would change is the frosting. I think an orange butter cream using either a fresh orange or orange buttermilk would be better than the glaze. I would also try this as a cupcake.
The apple cake and whipped cream. I cannot take credit for this as I was too lazy to peel apples so this only made it onto the menu when P volunteered to do the peel removal. This is a German classic. Unlike an apple pie, this is actually half cake topped with the fruit of 6 apples. It was moist and delicious and there were sadly no leftovers. This was the winner for best cake best on the basis of the small piece of the cake chart remaining (my guests were mostly researchers, and the German term for a pie chart is cake chart, you really have to turn your nerd on for that one).
The last cake is not exactly a cake and I have no idea what to call them in English. I made the dough on Saturday, balled it up and refrigerated overnight. On Sunday I rolled it out and made the egg white and nut filling then cut, filled and rolled like mini croissants before popping them in the oven to bake. I had lots of filling leftover so I tried to make some meringue cookies in my whoopie pie pan which turned out to be an epically delicious fail that got washed down the sink because I didn't grease the pan first. The actual dessert was delicious and approved by the recipe owner.
In addition to baking, I had fun setting up the party. As I mentioned the idea of a cake party makes me thing of grandmas, I went with a bit of a vintage theme. I was super excited to buy an antique tea pot and some matching dishes (top left corner of below photos) for the occasion. P thought they were redic but I love them. I also picked up a lace doily and deconstructed the lace to decorate my jar collection. I think I will write that up in its own post for the current Pinterest Challenge since I got my inspiration for that from the internet.
The final cake I do not have a solo shot of is in the bottom left of the above photo and it was delicious. It is lovingly referred to as Oma Kuchen. It's a dense cake with raisins and chocolate bits. I love it for breakfast and it pairs so well with black coffee. I will be making this again for sure, it is also on my mental list to bake for Christmas in RI. I think nuts would be a great addition and cranberries could substitute nicely for raisins.
All in all, there were zero cake fails which makes me so so happy. We also successfully entertained 15 people in the living room and everyone had a place to sit. This Kuchen party did not turn into a Küche party!