Sunday, August 7, 2011

Three Things

Specifically, three things about the US that I didn't realize I missed till I got back. :-)

Item 1: street lights. Now I'm used to navigating OU's campus, which is not universally lit, so it wasn't unnerving to tromp around in Leipzig and Berlin with their noticeably lower density of lights. (Besides it's not like I was out after dark much--when the sky's light till your normal bedtime......) Still, looking out the window of the plane at Chicago was a reassuringly homecoming feeling.

Item 2: streets on a grid system. They appeal deeply to my sense of symmetry and tidiness, not to mention how much easier it is to orient oneself when wandering around. Plus they're very pretty seen from the air around sunset, so that all of the aforementioned streetlights are glimmering. It's a bit like a very neat constellation.

Item 3: urban sprawl. Go figure. I thought that something I would really miss about Germany would be all the green space within the cities--there are parks and gardens everywhere--and perhaps I will. One of the things that says "home" to me, though, is a sprawling city; even though I love the green space and parks, it feels Other, not like home.

As may be obvious, all three of these occurred to me as we were taking off from Chicago. These observations thus may or may not accurately represent my attachment to actual cities. They are nonetheless representative of a general trend--I was happy in Germany, even to the point of not really wanting to leave, but now that I'm back, I'm very happy to be home and keep seeing all kinds of stuff that was different. Not bad, not even things I disliked, just Other--just not home.

It's good to be back. :-)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Strange Dream

I seem to remember my dreams better here.....

Wait, before I dive into my actual post, let me bring everyone up to date on news-ish stuff. As should not be a shock to anyone who actually knows me (or who follows me on Plurk, for that matter--I'm very clearly on European time), but which I have not yet posted on the blog because I'm a horrible blogger (as previously established on many occasions), I am in Germany at the moment--Leipzig, to be specific, in the break between Kurs A & Kurs B. Class starts again tomorrow, so I will have slightly more to do than I have for the past 4 days, which have been a giddy round of sleeping in and not leaving my room ;-)

So, the dream! I would suppose I have the same number of strange dreams here as elsewhere, but I seem to remember them better. There was one about Spindle, who adopted me and who was then held captive (slightly less than I was--nothing stops cats from going where they want) in our apartments in the back of...... apparently the women's clothing section of a posh department store. It was all deep pink and plush, and filled with clothes--like a very done-up boudoir, except everything was for sale. That was more than a week ago, though, and I don't remember anything very clearly from it except the adorable brindle cat who I named Spindle. (That was obviously the most important point anyway, right? Of course right!)

This morning's dream was once again on the theme of hostages and captives--apparently my brain likes that sort of thing. The first moment I remember clearly was handing my knitting to a Kern-monster-who-was-not-a-Kern-monster, in the way of dreams (oh. Another thing I've failed to keep the blog up to date on--the Kern-monster is a certain boy I met in January, with whom things look very promising)--anyway, handing over my knitting and book in the clear expectation of getting in the car (a rather old-fashioned convertible, by which I mean approximately Model T vintage) and driving off, only I was stopped firmly by the warden and told I couldn't leave. Or get my knitting back. Or for that matter my book. I of course considered this tremendously unfair, and told the warden so--apparently my dream wardens are a bit soft, because he didn't respond at all to this piece of cheek, but ignored me. I'm glad, really--it would be dreadful to get beaten up in my own dream. Insult to injury, sort of thing......

Then there was a middle stage of wandering around camp (not a very strict camp, apparently) and making friends with the other inmates--there was one sweet gentleman who I think was trying to make plans for an escape, and invited me along. Then the last part of the dream that I remember was strolling casually away from the camp, having no idea how I got outside but being equally certain I was completely at liberty. This amnesia worried me a bit and I tried prodding at the edges, without recognizing it as one of those fluid dream changes that your brain perpetrates when you're asleep--apparently my mind is very resistant to lucid dreaming, because that was as close as I can ever remember being to realizing I was dreaming while I was asleep. And really, it's not very close ::laughs::

The end result was that I woke up at 5:10, stayed awake for long enough to go over the details of the dream and think, "Well, that was strange," and slept again till my alarm at 6:30. Which I have, incidentally, because getting up early is a reality of life here in Germany--class starts at 9 and I usually leave my apartment five minutes before 8 in order to be properly early for class--and because I choose not to knock my body rhythms out of sync just because I happen to not have to get up for five days straight between sessions. And also because the sun shines straight in my window at 6:30 and I wouldn't sleep much past then anyway--it's easier for me to go to bed early here than to stay up late, with the result that a "late evening" for me is now 10pm. ::laughs::

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Slightly Atypical Blog Post

So. I've been a horrible horrible blogger and dreadfully neglectful and all that. I've just had nothing I wanted to say that couldn't be fit into 140 characters for a while.

And now, I would like to break my established pattern, and share with you, not deep thoughts on knitting or learning experiences or even amusing vignettes of my life at college or home, but rather a recipe. It's from this book, although since I don't have it here with me it's more inspiration than word for word.

It's called Pasta alla Crudiaola (I make no guarantees as to spelling; I know German, not Italian), and it is so. good.

Recipe-ish Start by cooking about 8oz of pasta to your preferred doneness. Pot, salted water, stove, bring to boil--right. I have every confidence in your abilities. Now, about the time you add the pasta to the water, heat some olive oil in a skillet and add a 14oz can of diced tomatoes. At the same time, throw a few spoonfuls of garlic (I think the original recipe calls for 6 cloves--you can really use a LOT) and some more olive oil into a bowl. At this point the tomatoes have been cooking for, what, one and a half two minutes. Add them to the bowl with the garlic. When the pasta is cooked to a suitable doneness, drain, rinse if you want but there's no obligation, and add it to the bowl too. (You need a pretty big bowl for this.) Then add some crushed red pepper flakes, stir it up, serve and devour.

This is an incredibly easy recipe, but you can easily make it as intensive as you want. You could peel and chop your own tomatoes, mince your own garlic (I use the jarred minced garlic), you could even make your own pasta if you wanted! It also lends itself well to gluten-free cooking--it works just as well with rice or quinoa pasta as with regular wheat pasta. You can easily double it (just use 16oz of pasta, a 28oz can of diced tomatoes, and more garlic), or add protein like ham or shrimp to the tomato mixture to make it a more filling meal (just cook your protein of choice in the oil before adding the tomatoes--make sure that shrimp or what have you is fully cooked or heated through or whatever your goal is *before* adding the tomatoes, though, because you don't cook the sauce for any time at all after that).

......This is making me hungry. ::wanders off to eat dinner::

::wanders back to click Publish::