Monday, December 15, 2008

End of Term

I'm currently in end of term I really should go back to studying for my evil 8am math final. But tune in tomorrow for an amusing discussion on Biblical inconsistencies and the like. Brought to you by the emails of myself and the elusive Simon...

Sunday, December 7, 2008


As I write this, it’s 81 degrees in my bedroom, which is significantly cooler than, what I imagine is at least 10 degrees cooler than the study and about 5 degrees cooler than the kitchen. Outside I imagine it’s about 5 degrees and very windy. [Editorial note: This was written last night. Today at church the boilers weren't working and so the sanctuary got it's first glimpse of heat an hour after I got there. I was suddenly missing my tropical condo.] 

But that’s not what I’m really writing about. Recently I’ve been doing a lot of cooking. I guess I take after my dad a bit in that writing is somewhat soothing and relaxing for me. This does, I know, make me weird. I actually banned myself from cooking this week in order to get some work done. That was a successful move, so I may have to repeat the ban in the future.

The first of my recent culinary adventures was yogurt. The recipe that inspired me was a blog post by the folks at White on Rice Couple They had a recipe for Vietnamese Yogurt which made yogurt making seem easier than it had seemed before. They use sweetened condensed milk which made the yogurt a bit too sweet for my tastes, but nice and creamy.

If you’re really interested, you can go to their site, but the basic gist is mix sweetened condensed milk and water. Then mix milk and live yogurt cultures (translation: already made yogurt). Then mix them all together. In the mean time, heat up water in pots and heat up canning jars (I ended up using 9 half pint jars). Then pour the yogurt into the canning jars and turn off the heat to the pots. Then place the jars in the pots (uncovered) and fill the pot til the water is higher than the yogurt. Then place a cloth over the pot and wait until the water cools (this will take FOREVER…as in 2-3 hours) Be vigilant. You don’t want the water to be cool for too long. Then put the heat back on and heat the water. Then turn it off again. And wait, again. When the water is cool, the yogurt should be mostly set. So you put the lids on the canning jars and throw it in the fridge. (Well, not literally. That would be super messy.) They’ll set up more in the fridge.

So that’s it folks. That’s how you can make yogurt. At least one way. For future adventures, I probably won’t make this recipe, since I prefer my yogurt a little less sweet. It was really good mixed with pomegranate since the pomegranate increased the tang while needing the extra sugar. I also mixed in some cranberry-orange relish that I’d made pre-Thanksgiving. If that hadn’t had sugar in it, it might have been perfect too. I’m a big fan of cranberry. I bought three bags of cranberries a few weeks ago. I made scones and muffins and relish and froze a bag. Delish.

So folks, that is my story about making yogurt. Sometime I’ll write about making bagels, but not tonight. 

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Baking, Blogging, and Blue Sky

I just finished two batches of cookies. Unfortunately my batch of all-purpose flour (one of two  canisters I had lying around) for the chocolate chip cookies was bad. So they went in the trash. The ginger cookies were absolutely phenominal though. (I left the cloves out.) I thought about bringing them into work to share, but I might not let them out of my sight. Gourmet magazine just posted their favorite cookies from the December issue of Gourmet from 1941 to the present and I found a group of bloggers who are making 12 of the cookies from that list in 12 days (and blogging about them with pictures and reviews). The instigator of this event is apparently Andrea. I had regularly been reading the blog of one of the contributors (Sass and Veracity) and came across this baking bonanza. After looking through all of the first four days cookies and reviews I was overcome with a longing for soft, chewy ginger cookies...which I then made. 

I have a long list of things to blog about, but find that everytime I sit down to post it takes me over an hour. And to be honest, I'd rather be making bagels. So instead I don't blog. But I am keeping a list of things to blog.  Right now the list is Yogurt, Smores Souffle, Switzerland, and Bagels. In particular Montreal bagels because they are the best. (Please don't send hate mail!) So those are coming. But it might be Christmas before they get posted. Also my digital camera has appeared to die, so I can't photograph my culinary attempts which makes them more boring. I will take it to Liz at Christmas, however, and she will touch it and then it will work. (This really did work on a former digital camera of mine. She apparently has a touch for electronics.) 

But onto why I really posted today. I read a liberal blog (perhaps mentioned here before) called Progressive Alaska. Philip Munger, the blogger, is an Alaskan activist and musician, so while most of his posts relate to Alaskan politics, he also posts tributes when famous musicians die (recently Odetta and Miriam Makeba). Today he simply posted a picture. I'm not going to lnk to the image, but to the blog post, so click through for the picture. It's right next to where my dad used to work and where we used to go on a mid-December Saturday afternoon to get a Christmas tree...but that's a story for another time. Lots of good memories. 

Stay warm! While some people (Gina!) may be living down South, others of us are deeply immersed in winter and already layering to protect ourselves from the -5 windchills. 

Friday, November 28, 2008


I'm a real Minnesotan now. Not only do I vote there, but I just got my real MN driver's license earlier this week. I love living in the Midwest and Minneapolis is a great city. I'm definitely enjoying this phase of my life :) Minnesota feels more like home, more of a fit for me, than anywhere else I've lived since I've been 17. So while my driver's license photo is horrific, it will be nice to fit in. 

Ironically, I'm writing today from Iowa, where I'm spending Thanksgiving. I'm headed to Kentucky for Christmas though, which I'm looking forward too. One problem about Minneapolis is that it's too far from my family. 

In other news, Simon the Great sent me a great link from the New York Times today. If you want to chip in to buy a piece of the London tunnels, let me know. We currently have 0 of the required 7.4 million dollars. 

Simon and I exchange an average of eight emails a day, many including exciting stuff like the link above. (Simon is the recipiant of all hillarious blogs that appear in my Google Reader. If there's a piece about spiders lost in space or "Paula Deen is trying to kill us: Thanksgiving edition," Simon will get it in her inbox. These inevitably lead to threads of emails about space spiders that will take over the universe and links to video of Paula Deen deep-frying cheesecake...just so you have an idea of our communications.) But Simon's blog, when they write on it (they being Simon and Ivan, her partner in crime), is fantastic. So while I'm busy writing up some of my recent cooking adventures, hop over to her site to read a hysterical piece on alpacas.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Two Notes - Computing and Movies

First, on computing. I am 25 and I sit in my computer history class, twice a week, with students who are sophomores and juniors in college. I know that, computing wise, they are not from my generation. When I TAed a class for freshmen in 2007, they were noticably more modern than me. I was lucky. I had instant messenger in high school, after three years of email and telnet at home. They had had instant messenger in middle school and email all throughout their teen years. They started off on AOL or Compuserve, while I started using ERIC (educational resource information clearinghouse...real thriller material). Sometimes, however, knowing things doesn't really sink in. 
Today the prof was talking about the Lisa computer (see above). People were asking about the drives and the prof said they were 5.25" floppy drives, and took the time to mention that they were originally called floppies because they were actually in flexible. Well, yeah, I thought to myself. We called the 3.5" disks floppies even though they weren't flexible. Then it hit me, while I loved playing Monopoly off of 5.25" floppies, most of my classmates didn't ever use them. They only know the floppy that is 3.5" and sturdy... It's times like this when even being 25 feels old.

Movies. Tuesday night is girls night. Ben plays Xbox Live games with friends from undergrad and I go out with a friend, usually for dinner and a movie.  The movie usually is supposed to fufill two criteria. First, the movie should be one that we wouldn't be able to get our boyfriends to watch. Second, the movie should be somewhat uplifting/funny/heartwarming/cheerful/not morbid and horrible. 

So usual fare includes movies like 27 Dresses, Made of Honor, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Mamma Mia! Those are great movies and served their purpose well. The fall lineup has been less than stellar, however, and while we have some 2009 movies on our slate already, we had few fall movies. Two weeks ago, our choices was the swoony Richard Gere movie Nights at Rodanthe. Except for the fact that we ended up sobbing, it was pretty good. But we decided that we were going to ban depressing movies from girls night. Last week we skipped, but this week we were able to see the Duchess. I had thought, briefly about arguing for the British comedy Happy-Go-Lucky, but we wanted to see the Duchess for a while, so there we went.

And it was horrible. It actually made me hate Ralph Finnes. Not personally, but his character was the slimiest of all slimeballs (as the late 1700s went). The gist of the plot (based on a real story) is that a society girl under 18 is arranged to be wed to the Duke of Devonshire so he can bear a male heir. He is a non-speaking philanderer and is emotionally abusive to Georgiana, by never speaking to her or awknowledging her, except if he is trying to begat a male heir. It's really horrible. While we weren't crying afterwards, I think we were both pretty angry and the 1700s powers that be for being so useless for womens rights. While we can't do anything to change the past, we have decided that we are no longer allowed to pick movies for ourselves. Obviously we are incapable of selecting light and frilly chick flicks. Suggestions are welcome. (Suggestions that obviously do not meet our criteria will be ignored.)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Praise of music

Here's the sermon and the prayer from the 40th anniversary celebrations for Philip Brunelle at Plymouth Church. (Both links are pdfs) Or you can listen to the sermon here. Vivian has a strong Welsh accent and the recording isn't studio quality, but it's fun. See this post if you want more context. 

I'm trying to post more frequently, but its obviously not working that well.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Reminiscing about Voting

My family is fairly good about not assigning gender roles. Both my parents cook, my brother and I both play legos, and I've never owned a Barbie (yes, that would be funnier if my brother had, but he hasn't). Yes, there are some things that we only did with one parent. (Mom went swimming, ice skating, and canoing while dad went fishing and float-tubing.)

My bro and I - Barbie free for 21 years when this photo was taken

But most indoor things could be with either parent. Since my mom was a homemaker when I was little, she was more likely to volunteer at my school or go on field trips.

Mom and Dad

Voting, however, is something I do with my dad (at school). My mom's a Canadian citizen, so she can't vote. That comes in handy when dealing with political phone calls.

I remember going with dad once, when I was little. They were doing a kids election while the parents voted. The local polling place was my elementary school library, 1.5 blocks from our house. This was probably the 1992 presidential election (I have vague memories of Perot and Clinton) so I would have just turned 9. Dad must have stopped by the house after work, since it was dark. Being November, in Alaska, it was also snowy. A time where it felt, at least to me, like we should be curled up with a book, inside, not headed back to school. Both of us voted and got stickers and I remember it being very exciting. Obviously it was more exciting to me, since my dad has no memory of this.

Our old house, by the school

It was ten years later before I'd go to the polls again with my dad. This time, he picked me up from the dorms around 6.45 or 7, to get to the polls when they opened and to vote in time for him to get back for an early lecture. My first vote being a midterm election, as a liberal in a red state, it wasn't all that thrilling, other than the part where I was part of the process. And there was the cool feeling that this was something that only my dad and I were qualified to do. No matter how much they wanted to, mom and my brother couldn't vote.

In 2004, the process was repeated, only this time I took it more personally. I'd spent the primaries in the UK, watching the bizarre show from abroad, not fully understanding how, when I left in January the nominee was bound to be Dean, and when I returned in June the nominee was Kerry. The day of the elections, I spent the evening in my room, watching returns online, constantly pressing refresh and hoping the map would change. A family friend was running for a state Senate seat in Alaska, and when the electoral math, sans Alaska, was computed, I couldn't bare it. I decided to wait up for the Alaska returns. Hoping, against all hope, that our friend would win, and while that wouldn't make up for map of red, it would at least feel like a small victory. (Sidenote: I like living in a state that votes my way or makes me feel like my vote will count. Polls show Obama with a significant lead in MN, but the Senate race between Barkley, Coleman, and Franken is a true toss-up).

But Gini lost, getting only 31% of the votes. (And yes, this was in Sarah Palin's 'hood, so to speak, and Gini's opponent had been in office since 1995.)

I woke, in the morning, to a bunch of elated classmates. I had one friend to commiserate with, but that was it.

This year will be different. I am more excited than I can ever recall being for an election. I was trying to describe it to my friend Simon who I primarily communicate with online. I've called her three times in the four years I've known her. The first two were when I was on the train to go visit her. But the second was when I called her on my way to go see the Faith Healer with Ralph Finnes. I had to share my raw excitement about seeing Ralph Finnes with someone, and she was the perfect person. She shared my enthusiasm and understood why I'd called. Today, I almost picked up the phone to call her again about how excited I was. We are both die-hard West Wing fans and I was trying to explain that I was almost as excited as watching the show (yes, that sounds pathetic, but in Hollywood they weren't letting voters decide it all, it was the liberal writers...) Her response: "Yeah, I think "Ralph Fiennes excited" about sums it up..."

Ralph Finnes

So here I am, 17 minutes from a day that will define my generation. Many of my classmates from 2004 now have status messages on Facebook supporting Obama. I've donated money to the campaign, passed out voter info flyers, and proudly worn an Obama button (or two, or three) for several weeks. This is an historic election. An election in the internet age. An election where millions have voted early. An election where either ticket, God forbid, will be a first.

So I'm voting. I'll get up in about in about 7 hours and walk a block to my polling place, where I assume I'll stand in lines for a while. I did my research on all the other candidates and initiatives on my local ballot tonight. (There are 18 choices to be made, plus numerous uncontested seats.) I'm voting for myself, I'm voting for my mom, I'm voting for my international friends - both in this country and abroad. I'm voting for my cousin's kids and my future kids. I'm voting to make the world a better place for everyone. And that's really why I'm excited.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Coming soon...more posts.
Right now if I posted it would be all about my crazy life and conference paper. But once that is out of the door, I'll prove to everyone that I am, in fact, still alive.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Misc Musings

I was going to write a lengthy post about my struggles with headaches, but I spent yesterday afternoon with friends who have a five day old daughter and something about being around a child that young makes me not want to talk about my problems. Hopefully I'll have a photo soon of me with little Sophia.

So instead, I'll give you a post written a week ago about a cycling trip from April.

I’m trying to post more regularly on my blog, which I’ve been neglecting lately. I want to return to the original theme of this blog, which was travel. Hearing a Welshman speak this morning, I was reminiscing back to my trip in June 2007 (chronicled in the archives here), when I went to Wales and went part way up Snowdonia. That got me thinking about other adventurish travel I’ve done lately and so I’m writing now about a bike trip I went on in May 2008.

Hikers on Snowdon

I was in England for a week for the King’s Singers 40th anniversary concerts and I’d flown over with frequent flyer miles. I spent several days in London, then went up to Cambridge. I had a few extra days and I decided that I wanted to visit Oxford. Knowing, however, that I’m not a huge fan of anything “touristy,” I wanted to do something more off beat. The year before, I’d rented a bicycle at the Youth Hostel in York and spent an hour winding up and back part of the National Cycling Route. Somehow, when I lived in York I only rode my bike on the roads and sidewalks. To Sainsbury’s and back. To the train station. On miscellaneous errands. The discovery of the National cycling paths was amazing to me. So between that and reading in my guidebook about the Cotswolds, I decided to go on a cycling trip (one day) around the Cotswolds.

Cycling Path north of York

I started off in Moreton-in-Marsh. Why? you ask. I’m sure this sounds ridiculous, but one of the composers we frequently sing here at Plymouth is Ian Kellam. At the end of each of his compositions is the location the piece was composed in. His hometown is Moreton-in-Marsh, so I felt I had to start there.

My guidebook (Let’s Go Britain & Ireland 2004) was slightly out of date, but I was hoping that the cycle rental they mentioned was still in business. The shop was a toy shop on the high street (main street, to you Yanks ;)). I had to wait my turn, but I was the only renter at the time. They spent a long time with me helping me plan my route and drawing it on a laminated map with dry erase markers. (See route here: GMap Pedometer)Then I went to the back and they fitted me with a bike. They loaded the basket with a raincoat, a bike pump, and bungee corded the map on top.

The Toy Shop in Moreton-in-Marsh

They said that the shop closed at 5. But if I came back later, I should just come in the back and ring the bell. And the bike wasn’t fitted with lights, so if it got dark and I still wasn’t back, I could call them and they’d come pick me up. I could also call if I got lost or something broke.

One thing that hadn’t really occurred to me was that the Cotswolds is a hilly area. Very hilly. I started out and less than half a mile from the bike shop I realized that this was WAY out of my league. The hill was probably the smallest possible thing that could be classified as a hill. The lines on the topographical map were quite far apart, as opposed to many of the other hills on the map. But I made it to the first small village and as I kept biking down the road, past sheep and horses and gorgeous vistas, I realized that I was not going to die/pass out/fall off a cliff. I had decided that I could make it and gosh darn it, I would.

Batsford Church


Hiking with Sheep

The Cotswolds is (are?) full of small towns. Town might be too fancy a word. Village? Smattering of houses? I went through, probably, a dozen villages, of which only one had multiple shops.

Small village of Ebrington

With bike and gear in the metropolis of Chipping Campdon

One village had a fete happening and men were wondering down to the town centre in top hats and women in fancy dress and ribboned and flowered hats. Bells were pealing.

Heading to a fete in Draycott

I had to walk up several steep hills, but, as I coasted back into Moreton-in-Marsh, I was pleased. The shop was almost dismayed that I was back so early. They checked, double checked, and triple checked that I was really done. I was ready to be back on the train though. (Or, er… I would have been if I could understand train timetables.) I went to a small tea shop for tea and scones, bought some postcards, and then waited at the train station for about an hour until the train came to carry me back to Oxford. I was bruised and marked with grease stains on my legs and hands. They took a few days to come off, but were well documented in my self portraits.

This reminds me. I really should buy myself a bicycle soon. As in, before the snow starts falling…

Monday, October 13, 2008

Promised post - Church Music & other asides

I was going to post this earlier and edit it in the meantime, but I forgot... so here is the unedited copy written on Sunday (10/12) after church while eating lunch and reflecting. No judgment, evangelism, or uncomfort intended. Instead, I hoped that this might help people understand more about me and how I, personally work, which is unique, or so I think.


There are days that I love life and there are days that I LOVE life. Ignoring the past 30 minutes, this is one of the latter. (The past 30 minutes involved my wireless card causing three consecutive blue screens of death…so I have no internet for the afternoon.)

Image by smenzel

I know that many of you are not religious or are atheists, but most of you who know me know that I am religious, although I sometimes hide it behind choir (i.e. I’m at church because of choir) which is, at times, true. And I am most certainly not an evangelical or a conservative. I’m very quiet about my faith and I’m very liberal and inclusive. I think that my only religious t-shirt is a “Hellfire and Dalmatians” shirt.

I should start from the beginning though. Last night I was going to write a ranting post about how much I hated my work and research and the like. This was expressed well through my file naming “E:/Fall 2008/Research/I hate the world/” I’m working on Wikipedia research and we have a huge amount of data to go through. Yesterday I discovered a problem which meant that we might have to rerun our program that takes 8-9 days, because the data we’re getting is incorrect. This wouldn’t be a problem, except that we were trying to get the paper done by November 3rd and were pushing it as it was. Now, assuming that this error does actually exist (and it’s the same magnitude of difference that I expect), there’s no possible way to get the paper out in time, because it would require a minimum of a week to get the data and that’s pushing it.

So yesterday afternoon I was wrestling with data and trying desperately to make things work that weren’t currently working. Ben was amazing and calmed me down and helped me write the code that would fix what we thought the initial problem was. He also made corn casserole which ended up spilling butter onto the bottom of the oven resulting in the smoke alarm going off, billows of smoke coming from the oven and me laughing for the first time all day. (No one was hurt or items damaged, so I was allowed to laugh.) Then we watched an episode of Psych, so I went to bed feeling better already.

But today was a special day at church. Our choir director, Philip Brunelle, was celebrating his 40th anniversary as choir director/organist here. First, that’s impressive even if it’s a part time/volunteer thing. But staying in the same job for forty years is amazing, and he’s kept up or exceeded the caliber of music as years have gone by (or so he alludes to).

Image of Philip and Carolyn Brunelle from Richard Sparks

Today was an all out celebration. He was, of course, at the organ, and we sang some fun pieces (Rorem, Stainer, and Brittan). All the prayers, responses, readings, etc were about music and I hope to get a copy of the pastoral prayer to post because it was truly gorgeous. Philip is also good about dropping out on the organ for a verse, or the alleluias at the end of a verse, etc and letting the congregation sing, a cappella. The only other place that I’ve seen this work is at Mennonite churches. Usually without the organ, the congregation drops and you can barely hear them. This morning, though, they had to bring in extra chairs, so the congregation was full and full-throated. We got to sing multiple verses a cappella and it was glorious.

In addition, the former senior minister at Plymouth, Vivian Jones, had flown over from Wales for this celebration. He split the sermon with the current senior minister, Jim Gertmenian, and both were excellent tributes to Philip and to music. I have to work a bit to understand Vivian, as I’m not used to listening to the rolling accents of the Welsh, but Vivian was hilarious and reminisced about working here (starting from before I was born…). Jim is generally more straight laced in his sermons and so I wasn’t surprised that his part of the sermon was less personal reminiscence and more lessons. (Again, I’ll try to get copies of these.) But Jim spoke of the origin of earth in the Big Bang, the Genesis story “Let there be light,” and the fact that music must be part of the origin of life as we know it. He spoke of being “almost unable to forgive” the writers of the Gospels for not including any descriptions or stories of Jesus as a musician.

Perhaps this is because of my personal strangeness, but immediately as Jim was preaching, I realized I agreed completely. My image of life is, while not focused on music, strangely partnered with music. I spend multiple hours a day listening to my ipod and I sing incessantly, when appropriate. I am strangely private about my musical life. I never want solos or to be singled out and I hate playing/singing for people. Some of you will be surprised to know that I can play (in order of competence more to less): piano, trombone, flute, clarinet, fiddle, recorder, trumpet, tuba, and drums. Five of these are due to taking an instrumental education class in college, for fun, others are out of personal interest. Last year I bought myself a digital piano. I love that I can play it with headphones and I tend to end up on the piano bench at times when I can’t face sitting at a computer or I’m frustrated with everything (although not yesterday). I play Hannon studies, the first half of Bach’s Prelude 21, a piece by Telemann, or anything that my piano will play so I only have to play one hand. I have to concentrate hard enough on these pieces that I forget everything else. Piano also requires much more hand, eye, brain coordination than most of my everyday activities. And yet most of my friends have never heard me play. I don’t think I’m much good, but I like playing for myself.

I’m also a moody music person. I get frustrated when my ipod, on shuffle, is playing “all the wrong pieces.” In the same way, I love when my ipod “knows what I want to hear.” Yeah, it sounds crazy, but I’m productive with the right music. (If only the iTunes Genius feature could be run on my 5th gen ipod on the go.) Last night, on my last bit of patience, I cranked up the volume of The Killers, because I needed angry music to program to. Then I calmed down and switched to Moxy Fruvous. And, given enough time, I might have ended with Kristin Chenoweth.

So because I’m such a musical person, at heart, a church service like this morning’s is exactly what I needed. It didn’t matter that my research was shot, that I had a searing headache, or that my butt was sore from a bike ride yesterday. All that mattered was the notes and the harmonies. And that is yet another reason why I absolutely love my church here.

(You want another reason why I love it? The 70 year old woman in a wheelchair at the back had an Obama ’08 bumper sticker on her wheelchair. How cool is that? More reasons include that one year Jim’s Easter sermon was about how the resurrection didn’t happen and one of his Valentine’s day sermons was about sex. Yes. Not abstinence or anything along those lines. Sex. I need to get a copy of that, cause I can’t find mine.)

So now, as I’m sitting, trying to work, sans internet, and waiting until the Hymn Sing at 4:30 (we’re even singing militant hymns….we never get to sing those), I’m realizing how lucky I am to be here and how much I will miss this community when/if I ever have to leave.

Picture of Plymouth Congregational Church taken by ecv5

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I have been a very negligent blog host lately, and I apologize. I've been sucked into courses, research, and conferences. However, this afternoon I was sitting around with my laptop and no internet connection and so I wrote some blog posts that have been on my mind. I hope that having a seeded group of pieces to start from will help me ease my way back. Unfortunately, you may find them a bit long, but I'll try to break them up a bit.
Here's a picture from my conference at the Keystone Resort in Colorado.

Tomorrow (10/13): A post about the musical wonderfulness that was today :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

When I am fast asleep

At 5am, police cars will lead the first non-construction cars over the I-35W bridge. This is the bridge on Sept 2, 2007 (courtesy of Ben).

At 5 am, I'll still be asleep, but the new bridge will be a welcome change. There are piles of rubble on the shore and the bike path is still closed, but about 14 months after it fell, a new bridge will be in place. 

I feel like I should write more about the collapse, but that will need to be another day.  More information on the bridge opening is at MinnPost

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The World of Sarah Palin

In the past few weeks not much has changed with me. Well, I guess that's really a lie. I've left Google and started year 4 of my Ph.D. back in Minnesota. I'm neglecting the blog a little and instead have been doing homework, spending time with friends, and doing a bit of travelling. (I'm in Iowa for the weekend.)

But, one change is something that I hadn't seen coming. For the past 10+ years, when people ask me where I'm from in Alaska, I reply with, "A small town about an hour from Anchorage." If the person appears to have in depth knowledge of Alaska, I'll give them the town name, but that's fairly rare. Mainly the person wants to know if I lived in an igloo and whether or not I hung out with bears.

With Sarah Palin as the Republican VP nominee, suddenly everyone has heard of Wasilla Alaska. "Hey. Wait. You're from Alaska, what do you think of Sarah Palin?... You're from WASILLA? REALLY?"

While this blog won't become political, and many of you reading know how I feel about these issues, I thought this would be the perfect time to use my recent pictures from Alaska to introduce you to the metropolis that is Wasilla, Alaska. For those of you who don't know, I lived in Wasilla from 1989-1998 and my trip to Alaska in July was 10 years to the day since we'd left. Much has changed, but some things are still the same.

This is the view of Wasilla as you enter on the Palmer-Wasilla Highway. Palmer is now a touristy small town while Wasilla is a big-box suburb type city. A huge number of stores, retaurants and shops have gone in since we left.

All I Saw Cookware (All I Saw is Wasilla backwards with different spacing) This was almost the best place in Wasilla. One year my brother won grand prize in the Candymaking for Under 12 year olds at the Alaska State Fair. He got a $25 gift certificate to All I Saw Cookware and bought an icing bag set.

The above picture is the back side of All I Saw. The other side looks towards Carrs, which was where my mom did a lot of her grocery shopping.

Below is a picture of the new Target. Target is opening in Wasilla and Anchorage in October. Wal-mart's been in town for quite a while now. Where Target stands now, there used to be a mall. Cottonwood Creek mall. We went trick-or-treating there one year. Another year my jazz band played Christmas music there. I don't remember what stores were in the mall other than Walden Books.

There is a very odd trend of espresso shacks in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley (where Palmer and Wasilla are). Maybe in all of Alaska. These are stand alone little sheds that have a drive-through coffee business. Most of them were closed as we drove by, so we didn't get to check it out. Dad says they existed (although weren't as prolific) before we left.

I went to sixth through eighth grade at Colony Middle School. I have many fond memories of the school, teachers, and classmates. I was part of a fantastic Science Olympiad team which went to Nationals in Michigan in 1998. We had a great band and music program and I was constantly challenged. Strangely enough, I was reminded last week of one of my former substitute teachers. While many subs are forgetable, I remember one sub from middle school who stood out. He was someone who our teacher never left lesson plans for. He taught us about wildlife and survival techniques (i.e. what happens if you get between Mamma Moose and her Calf) and told great stories about his former class trips. Strangely enough, I'm 95% positive that this memorable sub was Sarah Palin's dad, Chuck Heath.

This is the library. I'm pretty sure that if we could've gotten away with it my brother and I would have lived in the library. Wasilla (and Palmer) was a small town, so by a certain time we knew all the librarians. Mom didn't like us tagging along while she did grocery shopping, so she'd leave us in the library for an hour while she shopped. (The librarians were ok with this.) We thought we'd died and gone to heaven. The library had a checkout limit of 40 books per person at a time. My brother would check out 20 Tintin books and 20 Bill Peet books at a time. I checked out cookbooks and novels. Boxcar Children, Bobbsey Twins, a biography of Evita Peron. I loved it all. I remember being shocked when I worked at the library in Kentucky that some parents only let kids check out 5 books at a time! What did those kids do all week?

When we got home we had to write our books in a notebook to keep track of them and ensure we didn't have late returns. We also had a column for whether we'd read the books, so to this day, my mom has a record of my pre-teen reading. This trip we didn't get to go inside the library, but the brown and yellow building was enough :)

It's always strange going back to a place you once knew. It feels like it's the same, but so much has changed. It's like meeting friends from elementary school who you used to spend all day every day with, but you're now 25 and you have an image of them in your mind as 8 year olds. They've grown up, as have you, but it just doesn't feel right. Hopefully I'll get to go up to Alaska again before another 10 years have passed, but for now, these pictures will tide me over.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Still alive

I've been working on a longer post, but what with moving back to MN, starting school, my birthday, parties, and house guests, I haven't had very much of a chance to write. Tune in soon for an Alaska story with a political twist.

Image of Le Palais des congrès de Montréal

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Comfort Foods

In a world of burgers and fries, there are a number of ways to be enlightened and uplifted by food. There's fancy restaurants costing hundreds of dollars and requiring reservations months in advance. Sometimes simple is better though and I've been thinking the last few days about some of those foods. (This is probably due to the fact that very soon I will be leaving the wonder that is free gourmet food, cooked for me three times a day and be returning to the real world. In the real world, I don't make 4 types of salad, two types of pizza, a meat, sauteed mushrooms, and two desserts. Perhaps I would if I was a professional chef, but that's not very likely.)

So what do I want to eat when I'm feeling down/lonely/cold/tired/like-winter-will-never-end/hot/like-summer-will-never-end? Well, it depends a lot on the season. Here's a snapshot.

Winter: My ultimate comfort dinner would be a plain fresh (warm) loaf of bread with a bowl of soup. The type of soup isn't very important although broccoli cheddar or squash with pancetta and thyme would be fantastic but I've been thinking this week about broth based soups like a minestrone. These soups must be homemade. If it comes out of a can it doesn't count, although I admit that I don't make my own broth. I realized while thinking about the fact that this is one of my ultimate meals that I very very rarely make soup. In the past three years I can think of only two soups that I've made: the aforementioned squash and a Brazilian black bean stew. Soup isn't generally something I think of as an option for 1 person, but 2 might be more reasonable.

Winter desserts: These range from the simple (boxed brownies) to the complex (cheesecake). There are two things I associate with winter dessert comfort things primarily though. The first is rhubarb. I've learned that in California rhubarb is a foreign plant. The grocery clerks have no idea what it is. In the mid-West people beg you to take some of theirs (the fruit equivalent to zucchini). The easiest preparation is just simmering the rhubarb with some sugar and serving the resulting sauce over vanilla yogurt or ice cream. The other winter dessert that comes to mind is rice pudding. This (if made properly) requires patience, for you start with uncooked rice and slowly cook it in the oven, constantly stirring. (Now I really want rice pudding.)

Summer: Comfort foods for summer are simple, in part because there's no energy left to exert for cooking and people generally want to stay out of the kitchen. So food is simple. Two cobs of corn with butter and salt. That is my ideal meal. Add in a BLT and I'm completely sold. The tomatoes should be perfectly ripe and dripping down your hands, the cheap white bread, though toasted, melting as it succumbs to the juice of the tomato.

Summer desserts: Again, simplicity is everything. Strawberries that have been sitting out at the farmers market for 2 hours so that they're warm and juicy. Raspberries with the perfect touch of sweetness. Peaches and nectarines, like tomatoes, dripping all over you and leaving strings in your teeth. Cherries that you eat and then spit the pits around the yard. Watermelon that brings refreshing cool on the hottest of summer days.

The interesting contrast between my summer and winter menus is that I spent my whole life eating the winter menus. We've always had the ingredients for soup and bread and rice pudding available. (Rhubarb we don't grow in Kentucky and it seems silly to buy.) But the summer menus are things I used to dream about. Growing up in Alaska we didn't have sweet corn or tomatoes, cherries, peaches or nectarines. It was always a treat coming down to Ontario and getting sweet corn, even if I did have to have it cut off the cob because of my braces.

This summer I've taken advantage of the wonderful farmer's market that's a short bike ride from my house (I'll blog about it soon) and I've had meals of corn, watermelon, and berries. It's been wonderful. Now, with fall in Minnesota coming, I'll have to break out my cookbooks and reaquaint myself with the world of soups. It's a long winter, but the idea of eating warm buttered bread and hot soup while watching the snow fall makes it seem a lot more like home and a lot less like neverending torment :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mish Mash post

This was going to be about comfort foods, but there are two other urgent subjects that I need to comment on first.
  1. There are ants in my house. They really need to go away NOW. Icky icky ants. Leave. :(
  2. I found a way home from work today (my last biking day) on the bike path. Unfortunately, unlike the bike paths I frequent in Minneapolis, this path is not lit, so it was pretty dark and I almost ran over the invisible pedestrians.
  3. ABBA. Wow. I saw Mamma Mia this weekend cause it felt like I needed to see a big screen cheesy musical. Cheese-tastic. Almost painfully cheesy, cause I don't think it was supposed to be that cheesy. But then I was interested in the real ABBA. Luckily for me they have music videos on YouTube from the 70s and 80s. The 70s were an interesting time with interesting clothing. There is something about a dress printed with a cat the size of a human torso that just seems wrong to me. Example to the right ->
  4. I'm glad I did not live in the 70s.
  5. The Pineapple Incident is the best episode EVER of How I Met Your Mother.
  6. Comfort foods will have to wait til tomorrow.
Over and out.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Dear man in the red convertible

Dear Man in the Red Convertible Leaving Taco Bell at 8:20 Tonight

Perhaps it was my fault.
I wasn't wearing a bright yellow reflective jumpsuit
Or perhaps it was because I stayed late at work to watch the convention
Or because I was planning another blog post as I rode home.

Or perhaps it was because I wasn't wearing full body armor
and I didn't stop when the light turned yellow as I was going down the hill at 20 miles per hour 5 minutes earlier.
Or maybe it was because I'm not an aggressive driver and I don't have an airhorn on my bike, just a bell.
Or perhaps it was because I was going 10 miles per hour, not 5 as you think proper
Or because there was another bicyclist outside Taco Bell, locking his bike up.

Perhaps it was because I was in the bike lane,
and I wear a helmet,
I use turn signals,
and I come to a full stop at stop signs, despite it breaking my rhythm.
Or because there are so many bikers in this area that we are all invisible and would be better off driving cars.

Yes, perhaps it was my fault, man in a red convertible, that you almost ran me over tonight as you turned left leaving the Taco Bell drive through.
You obviously were busy, what with the driving, the eating, and the cell phone being used illegally without a handsfree set.
So busy, I guess, that you did not see me.
With my reflective arm band and gloves, my blinking white and red lights, my helmet.
I suppose the street lights didn't help illuminate me either.
You didn't see me.
That is, you didn't see me until you heard me.

I clanged my bell, squealed my brakes (a feat at less than 10 mph on a bike) and flew to a stop 5 feet from your car.
Then you saw me.
And you stopped, briefly, to let me by.
Very kind, given that you were completely blocking my lane by now and had almost run me over.
So I let you by instead and you pulled to the shoulder on the other side of the road and kept talking.
The other bicyclist yelled at you for being on your phone.
And then I biked the rest of the way home, shaken, but not scarred.

Yes, perhaps it was my fault, man in the red convertible.
But on the other hand, I think
Just Maybe
It was your fault.

Random Photos

I haven't been posting as much as I'd like to, but here are some new photos.

The above is from the Google Dance 2008. Taken on my mobile phone. I liked the blurry effect.

The above was taken in Oxford after my normal camera battery died. So I took this on the cell phone too.

Ben was out in CA last weekend, and inspired by my cousin, who's a professional photographer, I thought I'd take blurry pictures of the Redwoods. It is not as easy as it looks :)

More blurry redwoods.

Last month, Mom and I volunteered for Doof-a-palooza, a big food festival for kids held at Google. This is one of my favorite Cafe's, but all the furniture has been shrunken for the kids. They were making finger paintings with coffee.

Friday, August 22, 2008

To tide you over

I've been a bad blogger lately, especially since Firefox 3.0 and my blog are not acting friendly at the moment. Basically when I load my blog in FF, FF freezes which is really not my cup of tea. So instead of blogging I've been doing other things, like watching hulu and scramble and trying to get some research done.

I'm also wrapping up my internship. Amazingly, I only have six work days left and there's a lot that has to get done in that period of time. I've had a fantastic summer out here in CA though and I can honestly say that I've really enjoyed my job. (Yes, I was slightly surprised by that.) But while I'll miss my work here, as well as the farmer's market and great weather, it will be good to head back home to year four of my Ph.D.

I'm in the middle of a painful photo migration. Trying to migrate 41 albums and hundreds of photos from webshots to flickr. I've contemplated moving them all to picasaweb, but for now I'll stick with flickr. That comes up because today's picture is from back in November 2004.

This picture is relevant to today because of the chairs like the one I am sitting on (far right). You see in September 2004, the Olympics were being held in Athens and for the first time I had both a tv and a group of people to watch with. We were also still enjoying the novelty of having a tv in our lounge. So Rachel and I decided that we would pretend to be Olympic athletes. What sport, you ask yourself? Well, for us it was fairly obvious.

Image from flickr user
Too boring. We wanted a sport with more complication. (No offense to runners.)

Image from flickr user BohPhoto
Obviously I am WAY too tall for this kind of thing. Plus I have no arm strength. At the time we were both 21 as well, putting us in the "ancient" zone for gymnasts.

Image from flickr user flying_tiger
Our dorm was somewhat lacking in equine mammals. Thus we had to pass on the equestrian events.

So I suppose it was obvious and inevitable that we would choose to be

Image from flickr user njhdiver
Yes. Who else but synchronized divers? To achieve the proper effect sans pool, we simply climbed up on the aforementioned chairs, facing either out to the middle of the room or towards the wall. From there we would spin, generally 180 or 360 as we jumped off the chairs and headed towards the floor. We did not, as you might be relieved to know, attempt pikes. That just seemed a little infeasible with only having two feet to execute the move in and all.

That's the memory of the day with props to Rach for calling me from her new home in the great Northland.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Out of the ordinary

Nothing specific to write about tonight. I'm on the Thinkpad, since I left my MacBook power at work, so my screen is a bit too small to do a news post. I was thinking about writing about the wonders of fresh sweet corn, but I was much more inspired before dinner. My pictures from this weekend are uploading on flickr, so a post on those travels will follow.

So instead of that, I thought I'd write about hope and dancing. No, not this. Some of you will have seen this video, simply called Dancing 2008. If not, go check it out. I went to a talk today by Matt Harding (the dancing guy in the video) about that project and He talked about his different projects. Before I say anything more, go watch the video. I don't know about you, but watching it, each and every time, I get happy goosebumps. I first saw the movie last month, when Peter Sagal posted about it in his blog. (He and his family are in the Chicago scene.) Hearing Matt talk about it just increased those goosebumps.

Perhaps it was something to do with just having dropped Ben off at the airport or the fact that I only have 9 work days left here before heading back to school, but watching the video also gives me a twinge of homesickness. I think part of it is that even if all the people in the video were strangers they all appear to be part of a larger community. While I sometimes feel like part of a large community here, it's nothing compared to the communities I belong to at home. (Church, school, friends, etc)

However, at the end of the talk, the organizer stood up and asked if we could all get up and dance with Matt. So everyone left their laptops on their chairs and raced to the front. We figured out how to all fit in the frame and some folks in the back stood on chairs. Then we "danced" waving our arms and legs in the air and grinning like mad. No music, just a bunch of crazies having a great time letting loose and being part of something bigger.

So that's what I'm thinking about. I bought three songs on iTunes tonight Praan (the song from the dancing video starring a 17 year old Minneapolis girl), Dance Outtakes Song (by the same composer), and Dragostea Din Tei (a Romanian techno song). I didn't even think about getting my picture taking with Matt, so I'll leave you with these shots from flickr member JamesEverett from the Vancouver dancing event.

Flickr member zordor posted this from the massive Madrid shoot:

Friday, August 15, 2008

Inside my head

Here are the things I'm thinking about/looking at today:
  • Being a food snob is one thing. Being an ice snob is something else entirely...
  • Peter Sagal had a piece on NPR today about email addiction. I understand completely where he's coming from! Although I think my fantasy email is less Justice League of America and more that someone wants to offer me a immense fellowship to travel the world or wants to put me on NPR.
  • Ben's flying in tomorrow and so we're going to spend some time in San Francisco. Just in time, this piece on "farmer's market fast food" appeared on Mark Bittman's NYTimes blog, Bitten. I think that we'll be making a stop at the Ferry Building market as well as a dim sum place. In addition, Bittman posted a recipe for Pasta with Corn, Zucchini, and Tomatoes. Personally, I like my corn best fresh, briefly boiled and eaten with either salt and butter or lime and chili. But if there's an overabundance I'm ok with eating it other ways as well.
  • The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest has posted its winners. If you enjoy bad writing you will love this. (The people are purposely writing poorly, it's not an accidental occurrence.) Here are my favorites: Bill swore the affair had ended, but Louise knew he was lying, after discovering Tupperware containers under the seat of his car, which were not the off-brand containers that she bought to save money, but authentic, burpable, lidded Tupperware; and she knew he would see that woman again, because unlike the flimsy, fake containers that should always be recycled responsibly, real Tupperware must be returned to its rightful owner. - Jeanne Villa (Novato, CA)
    Dorothy had reasons to be nervous: a young girl alone in a strange land, traveling with three weird, insecure males badly in need of psychiatric help; she tucked her feet under her skirt to keep the night's chill (and lewd stares) away and made sure one more time that the gun was secured in her yet-to-develop bosom. - Domingo Pestano (Alto Prado, Caracas, Venezuela)
  • I get the headlines from The Independent (from the UK) every night. They often have highly amusing headlines that I send on to Simon. Today's was "Cocaine use trebles in a decade." I had never heard the word treble used as verb. Apparently it means triples. I had to look it up in the OED because Google's define feature didn't define it in it's verb sense and you can't tell exactly what they mean by the first paragraph
  • I generally miss out on tv shows. When I was little I didn't watch tv much at all, and most of it was PBS. So since I've been enjoying NPH in How I Met Your Mother and Dr. Horrible I figured I should go back and watch Doogie Howser, M.D. Hulu had the first two seasons online and so I watched them. When I get into a show I watch all the episodes fairly quickly, so it was good when I finished seasons 1 & 2 and moved on with my life. Now, however, they have posted seasons 3 & 4...
  • Speaking of TV: I've been thinking a lot about the 2004 Olympics. This is primarily because I'm not watching the 2008 Olympics. It's not that I'm protesting China, not at all, it's a convenience thing. I don't have a tv here and I have a 40+ hour a week job. In 2004, I had just finished my job in Letcher County and I was sitting at home in front of the TV working on my scrapbook while watching the Olympics. I even remember watching the opening ceremonies with a group of college friends that I didn't usually hang out with. It's strange to think how much my life has changed since then.
That's it for today folks. I'll probably not post this weekend, but should be back to normal next week. I've got 11 more days of my internship and then it's back to grad school.

Update: I added a bonus picture for those of you who made it this whole way! Here's a picture from back in 2004 during my terms in York. This was taken from my dorm room window during exam week in April.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Crepes and Fire

A few weeks ago I went to a cooking class with the subject "Sweet and Savory crepes." Some of you may know or guess that I like crepes. Especially ones like this:

Photo by swperman on flickr

Some of you might even know that I have made crepes before. But I'm sure none of you will be surprised to learn that I jumped at a chance to take a crepe class, for free (with LOTS of samples.)

We started out the day with sweet crepes. We were shown how to make several different sauces and the crepes themselves. Then we moved on to savory crepes. Stuffed with chicken and cheese and drenched in sauce ("to prevent them from burning") and then thrown under the salamander. We even made a cake with layered crepes and custard and, I believe, nutella. This was topped with a thin layer of white sugar and then we got to blow torch the top of it. This was very similar to a favorite dessert from when I was little, pancake pie. (Although that recipe didn't involve a blow torch.) The recipe was from a book called Pancake Pie by Sven Nordqvist (translated from the original Swedish). The plot, as described on amazon is "Despite many difficulties, a farmer named Festus is determined to celebrate his cat's birthday by baking a pancake pie." The book includes a recipe. Basically one makes crepes and layers them between alternating layers of fresh strawberries and whipped cream. The result would look like this:

Photo by Sheila Steele on flickr

Back to the cooking class...We were wearing plastic gloves, flipping crepes with our hands, and having a good time. Little did I know the best part. We got to play with more fire. This is something that my brother was a specialist in back in the day. I wish I had a picture, but imagine something like this. Campfire, failed attempts to roast marshmallows because the flames were never allowed to die down to coals, completely intrigued six year old...

Photo by zen on flickr

The mixture that becomes the sauce for the crepes involves mixing brown sugar and butter and then some sort of alcohol. Grand marnier, peach schnapps, raspberry liquor. But if you use a gas stove and the right twist of the pan, after adding the alcohol you can flambé the sauce. Like this
Photo by cogito ergo imago on flickr
Everyone was pretty impressed with the flames I got on mine. It was just about the coolest thing in the kitchen. (Or, the hottest thing rather.)

From an email to my mom:
The crepe class was one of the coolest things ever because we got to flambé. Basically we threw booze in our sauce and then used the gas cook top to light it on fire. One of the highlights of my summer, most definitely. I don't think I'll be able to convince Ben that I should try it at home ;)
I am writing this now because tomorrow I'll get to help the sous chef serve up crepes to the public. (er...semi-public?) I think the crepes are pre-made and so we'll be making the sauces and serving. I went by last week (the first Wednesday after the class) to say that I wasn't going to be able to make it, but that I would come this week. She said she had a stack of aprons waiting.

If you don't hear from me it could because I went a little crazy with the flambéing. Or it could be because I have to go and socialize and network tomorrow night. Assuming things go well, I'd be up for showing off my skills in other locations as well. You just might want to have a fire extinguisher handy.

Photo by ziggiau on flickr

Multiple Blogs

UPDATE: Due to a delay in seeing a comment about how I should put all my blogs into one and the crazy out-of-control blog ambitions I have, I'm going to migrate everything to THIS blog. I'll leave up the descriptions of the sorts of things I'll be posting below, but I'll remove the addresses.

Simon, friend and commenter, was surprised to hear I had two blogs. Actually I have more. I got a little blog crazy a few weeks ago and wanted to make a public blog. Then I realized I was going to be posting on multiple topics and thought it would be nice to write distinct blogs so that if you don't care about my travels, but love my random emails with crazy NYTimes articles, you can just get those. So now I have a triumvirate of blogs and a fourth one in the making. Since this blog gets the most traffic I will introduce them here.

Wandering Around the World -
This is the blog you are reading now. I have about twenty posts waiting to be posted on this site (yes, I'm keeping a list so I don't cheat my readers out of any crazy stories/antics). The theme behind this blog is: Katie's travels. This will be a fairly picture heavy blog with limited access to the outer world (i.e. fewer links)

Katie's Pick of Daily News Headlines
This was born out of my habit of emailing a wide swath of people everytime I laughed at a headline in Google Reader. These headlines will come primarily from the NYTimes, StarTribune, and Slashdot. Unlike Wandering the World, most of this blog will be links to random weird stuff. Sometimes (often?) I may not have even read the article in question, but the premise from the headline was bizzare enough to warrant a post.

Katie's Food Blog
This will eventually get a better title. I've been thinking a lot about food this summer, so hopefully this will involve posts about food. So far I have about forty pictures on my phone of meals from this summer. I also have rave reviews of the farmers market. I don't really know what will be on here, because I haven't started posting yet, but I will post tonight.

The obvious, yet missing blogs are the choral geek blog and the HCI/Computer geek blog. When the need arises, I will add them or merge several existing blogs. I couldn't get the blog name I wanted for the techy blog, so that will be figured out later on. I will stay dormant on the music front until choir starts up again in September.

If this is all too much for you, let me know. You also might want to try out a news aggregator (like Google Reader) that is like an inbox for all the blogs you read. It lets you know when there are new posts and brings them all together in the same location. If you do choose Google reader, let me know what you think of it via email.

I initially started out with the high high ambitions of posting daily. I'm thinking this is going to turn into a post per blog per week, with more or less as I am so inspired. So tonight's post will be about food...

Because you, the reader, matter to me, I'll be watching the comments. If you are sick and tired about hearing about topic X you can either quit reading my blog or let me know that you'd rather hear more about topic Y. If you disagree (there aren't that many of you, so I'm not TOO worried), I will watch the flames be thrown around.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

We interupt your normal program

Tonight I wrote on my neglected news blog over at instead of on this blog. I felt that I should post there, so I did that first and now it's almost midnight and I'm not very inspired to write in here.

I've gone deep into my flickr archives to bring you today's pictures. So as to not veer from the traveling path, the first picture is from Grenoble, France from a visit in spring 2004.

These next two photos were from my trip to Italy/Switzerland in June 2007. I met up with Rachel, a college friend, and we spent a few days on a goat farm in Switzerland. Since then the goat barn has burnt down :( but we will always remember that wonderful part of our vacation. (To read more see my previous posts here, here, and here) The farm was in the small village of Origlio. (See map at the end of this post)

La cabra con le cabre (The goat with the goats) - This guy was not at all camera shy.

Rachel sunburned, yet calmly overlooking the peaceful lake

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