Friday, January 30, 2009

Gramma's Magical Bell Pepper Salad (& the saga of Julie and the stray Siberian Husky)

It's Sunday and Sundays inevitably make me think of two things: my dad's pancakes and breakfast at Matt's Gramma's house in New Haven (well, Hamden technically, but whatever). This morning Matt and I couldn't help but recall one particularly memorable occasion at Gramma's that included not only good food, but an unforgettable story and very good example of my general inability to control laughter at the most inappropriate of times.

One of the highlights of our trip to Connecticut in December (besides Matt obsessing over the fire like some kind of HFA child), was the dinner we had at his Gramma's house. I love Gramma, who I affectionately like to refer to as The Sheriff, for many reasons, among those her tendency to be brutally honest, to curse unexpectedly, to wear big 80s Italian-style sunglasses whenever she's outside, and because she is one of the few people who I think really knows the meaning of working hard. But I have to say, the reason I love her the most are the meals she prepares for us.

From an outsider's perspective, depending on what part of the country he grew up in, this particular dinner might have seemed either like a perfectly normal Italian American family dinner, or like a display of excessive, marathon-like force feeding by an otherwise seemingly pleasant old woman with a heavy Italian accent. Having now spent the past six years of my life being introduced to the Italian American ways of the Northeast, I revel in these visits and repasts.
Plus I just love to eat a lot. :)

Matt, being Italian in his Gramma's hometown in San Martino, Italy

The table on this last night of December in 2008 featured a lot of the usual Gramma staples, generally to be had at her Sunday morning breakfasts, and some other but nonetheless fortuitous, dinner-esque dishes.

A selection, if you please:
- Breaded chicken cutlets, fried and cooled ahead of time
- Fried chunks of
Baccalà (salt Cod)
- A cold
Baccalà salad that had capers, I think
- Chicken broth with dandelion greens (if you've never heard dandelion greens or "Horta" in Greek cuisine, you've never lived)
- Baked manicotti stuffed with ricotta & covered in homemade marinara
- The prerequisite boiled string beans with nothing but olive oil drizzled on them
- Generous chunks of parmesan cheese in a ceramic bowl (I say generous because we all know what highway robbery good parmigiano reggiano is in the US)
- Large, unpitted, and very green olives cured in salt water or vinegar - never have I had fleshier, fresher olives than those!
- Succulently chewy oyster mushrooms fried with pepperoncino a
nd olive oil (my personal fav)
- Ciabatta rolls, warmed in the oven to soften them slightly (Gramma s
ays the only reason she still has all her teeth at the ripe age of 80 is that she ate really hard bread all her life)
- Fresh mozzarella and slices of Italian prosciutto (offered after we'd already eaten dinner)
- Freshly roasted chestnuts (we helped pierce them to let the steam escape)
- Slices of cantelope
- A bottle of Frascati wine, tap water, orange juice, a couple of shots of Strega, and of course, Italian espresso
[NOTE: This smörgåsbord made for a real fight for self-control on my part and Matt's and explains why it is also traditional for Matt (and any other family member who may have partaken) to take a nap in the living room after most of the meals at Gramma's house.]

All of this, a deviation from the norm or not, was to be expected. But two things threw me off a little bit that night at Gramma's house as we conversed with her and Matt's uncle.

1. The unassuming bell pepper and cauliflower salad sitting on the table next to me, whose vibrant colors and mysteriously simple yet delicious flavor entranced me from start to finish (literally, to the point that I actually ate all of it except a piece I grudgingly gave to Matt)

2. The story Matt's uncle told concerning Julie, their cat, who also happens to be the oldest adopted cat on the books at the Hamden animal shelter (20 yrs in case you were wondering)

I am severely allergic to cats (hence #11) and pregnant, so when we walked in Matt's uncle graciously insisted he would put the old and feeble Julie in the basement to offer me a comfortable atmosphere in which to break bread. Throughout the meal the conversation flowed like wine (or was it the other way around?), but was nevertheless occasionally interrupted by various thumping, whining and howling sounds coming from the basement, and therefore presumably being made by Julie. Matt's uncle looked pretty uncomfortable about having exiled her in such sharp contrast from her usual pampered lifestyle, and so from time to me he would get up and go talk to her or bribe her into silence with bits of food. Gramma generally received the uncle's gestures with a dismissive wave of her hand and a click of her tongue, thereby signaling that she was glad the cat was in the basement .

On one such occasion, halfway through the dinner, Matt's uncle came back to the table looking particularly upset. As I nibbled on the bell peppers and cauliflower (and shoved other food onto Matt's plate as a diversion from the salad), he explained why. (Caveat (PILP Alert!): what follows was cause fo
r uncontrollable and probably highly inappropriate laughter on my part. This is not the first time I've done it, nor shall it be the last, but at the very least I will try to use this posting as my better-late-than-never mea culpa (wow, another PILP) in honor of Julie).

"One day about a month ago I was sitting in the kitchen drinking my coffe
e. I usually let Julie out into the backyard before I go to work. So I'm going about my business drinking my mug of coffee when I hear Julie scream. I mean, I was in the kitchen and I had my coffee in my hand, but as soon as I heard her I just jumped outside through the screen door - it was already open, thank God or I may not have made it - and saw a giant Siberian husky going after Julie!--"

*insert first stifled laughter-snort on Brenda's part
followed by a uncomfortable smile from the uncle*

"I was looking for Julie and screaming her name when I realized that vicious dog had her in his mouth! He had her in his mouth and was waving her around like a rag doll--"

*uncle imitates the Siberian husky wildly thrashing its head around with Julie in its powerful hyena-like jaws as I determinedly but less successfully stifle another laughter-snort this time receiving a kick under the table from Matt*

"So he's waving Julie around like a rag doll and I'm like 'What do I do? What do I do?' and then suddenly, instinctively - almost like it was in slow motion - I drop my mug - I mean at this point I didn't care what happened to the mug I just knew I had to get Julie - and I reach over and punch the dog in the back of the head! I mean, I just punched it, right in the head!--"

*full-fledged laughter-snort escapes Brenda's mouth followed by uncontrollable but somewhat stifled giggling, incredulous glare from uncle*

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry -"
I manage to stammer. "Please go on. I don't know why I'm laughing. I think maybe I'm just in shock, um, just relieved that you got the dog."

*big old involuntary laughter-snort*

*uncomfortable pause followed by slightly incredulous chuckle on uncle's part*

"No, it's ok, I mean I understand it's kind of an unbelievable story. It was really scary. Yeah, I mean, he saw it coming but I still hit him and he let go of Julie. I didn't do any permanent damage really, but I mean, who's dog is roaming in other peoples' yards anyway? Poor Julie she just laid there for a second and then she got up and ran and I was looking for rocks and yelling at the dog but it ran away and so did Julie. I had to call in to work and take the day off to find her, I even had to call the game warden...and then we had to take her to the hospital to have her fixed was awful."

*amused laughter from the sheriff, hand-gestures from uncle, full-on laughter from Brenda*

"You know Brenda, now I'm really starting to wonder why you're laughing. I mean, it was pretty awful what happened to Julie--"

*continued involuntary laughter from Brenda, awkward laughter from Matt, sardonic chuckles from the Sheriff*

"No, I know, I know. I don't know what's wrong with me...I, I am sorry. I'm really sorry. Yes, that's awful."

He shortly thereafter excused himself to go check on Julie. It was a long five minutes in between though, let me tell ya. The awkwardness and inappropriateness was mitigated only by what I now refer to as Gramma's Magical Bell Pepper Salad. To change the subject I asked her how she made it. It is so easy it hurts, and definitely one of those dishes that just proves simple is always best.

She offered to let me take several jars of it home with us to London, but even after we explained the whole "international customs" concept to her she continued to try to force it upon us,
inherently suspicious of any so-called international airport procedures.

Here's the recipe in case you ever want to taste a lit
tle of what I tasted that night at Gramma's:

Gramma's Magical Bell Pepper Salad
Serves 4

I didn't have cauliflower at home this morning - so sue me.

- 6
(preferably red, orange or yellow) bell peppers, washed and chopped into large squares
- half a h
ead of cauliflower, chopped into medium sized florettes
- 1/2
cup largeish pickled capers (not caperberries), rinsed
- 1/2 cup (or so) of white wine or rice wine vinegar

- salt and pepper to taste

- Matt adds some dried oregano, but I consider that blasphemous


Mix all ingredients in a bowl and allow to stand and soak for half a day, mixing occasionally. Serve as a side salad or snack. Can be put into jars and stored for later consumption, as long as you know the whole sanitary procedure for doing that and you're not trying to smuggle it across the Atlantic Ocean.

The Sheriff (on the right) with her cousin back in the old days
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The virtues of Kool-Aid

I don't care what anybody says - I love Kool-Aid.

I always forget that I love kool-aid, though, until I go back to visit my mom and sister. They inevitably have a nice fresh pitcher of it in their fridges and I can always count on it being one of my three favorite flavors: lemonade, pink lemonade, or the blue one (which is now I think blue lemonade, technically, but also used to be berry blue back in the day).

NB: I HATE red Kool-Aid, and none of my comments here will pertain to it. Let that be duly noted by any of you red-Kool-Aid-lovers out there.

According to this
random but interesting blog, berry blue was pulled off the shelves because it looked too much like windshield wiper fluid. (How ridiculous is that?!) Being able to recall many a glorious summer day when I ran home hot and thirsty after spending the afternoon in the merciless summer heat of the Texan sun, and also being able to recall that the only thing that truly quenched my thirst - truly nipped the proverbial parched throat in the bud - was a glass of blue Kool-Aid, it really sticks in my (proverbial) craw that we are no longer allowed this simple pleasure, this, frankly, unalienable right of the children of the 80s.

Besides being refreshing, Kool-Aid has many other virtues which I now feel the need to expound upon. This post was all precipitated by a random episode that occur
red a couple of days ago while I was wandering around my flat thinking "I am so sick of drinking water." Why would I be thinking that, you might ask, given water's general reputation as a life-giving-life-sustaining substance. Well, I've come to feel that way after what has amounted to two years of a very boring drinking life. Allow me to explain...

*enter Wayne's world scooby-dooing noise*

It all started going downhill when we left the big apple (that's NYC for all you weirdos who don't already know that) in January 2007. As a mid-twenty-something living in Manhattan, breathing was a good enough reason to pop into that cute cocktail bar / rustic pub / ludicrously expensive restaurant you hadn't tried yet and have a drink with a girlfriend. Consequently I frequented all sorts of local and not-so-local establishments with a healthy frequency in order to try amusing concoctions that left my wallet a lot lighter than my head by the end of it. London is not nearly as tempting when it comes to this, mostly because a drink here costs as much as a meal there. (Also why many of my culinary dalliances lately have been restricted to the kitchen in these shady economic times.)

Coming to Europe also simplified my drinking habits because here, unlike everything else under the sun, good wine is actually pretty damn cheap. I no longer saw the need to order the bon-bon martini or have two cape codders with my dinner when I could indulge in a decent French sauvignon blanc or Cotes du Rhone, or even a good glass of Spanish Cava for a fraction of the cost and exponential amounts of taste.
Lastly, although admittedly my habit of drinking club soda with lime started state-side, I didn't really know what "soda and lime" could be until I came to the UK. Because here, you don't just get a little withered slice of lime in your pint glass. You get Rose's Lime Cordial. And believe you me, that is enough to make anyone give up good old plain club soda.

*Exit Wayne's World scooby-dooing noise*

So now when I'm at home I either drink water, soda and lime, or tea (yes the British have rubbed off on me somewhat). And consequently almost every night when we sit down to dinner, Matt says:

"Don't you get sick of just drinking water or club soda?"

Up until this past Christmas break, I had always answered a smug "no, I do not" feeling that I had perhaps finally found a healthy, moderate regime when it came to appropriate daytime libations. Up until this past Christmas break, I had not had kool-aid for what amounted to a life in dog years. And let me tell you, what a bland life it had been!

As soon as I saw that pitcher of blue goodness in my sister's refrigerator I squealed with glee - the hot Texas summer rushing over me in a Proustian wave - and proceeded to drink nothing but Kool-Aid until I left her house and went to my mom's. There I switched to regular lemonade Kool-Aid and vowed never to take a hiatus for that long again.

The next time we went to H.E.B., I bought myself 20 packets or so of my three favorite flavors. Ironically, I can't find them right now and I am really considering actually calling Matt at work to ask if he knows where they might be...but I digress. Onto the meat and potatoes of this post:

Top Five Reasons Kool-Aid is Virtuous
(and/or damn good fun to drink)

5. Because it has a freakishly amusing frosty pitcher thrusting his fist in the air as its mascot. I love seeing people thrust their first in the air with happiness and frosty pitchers of almost anything look good.

Because it's an unpretentious, yummy, colorful and fun thing to drink. Nobody can feel like a BSD
while drinking Kool-Aid, and, let's face it, the less BSDs in the world, the better.

Because it stains your lips and sometimes your teeth, and, for those lucky few who seem to unknowingly have a particular way of drinking it, gives you the good old Kool-Aid moustache - all of which provides the world with another dose of much needed comic relief - no matter how small, how insignificant, or how puerile.

Because Kraft was clever enough to create the Kool-Aid points reward program which provided me and my sister with many a cool knick knack, not to mention a cool lesson (unbeknownst to us) in actually saving up to get what you want. Wouldn't it be good if half of America had gotten that lesson?

1. Because it makes you feel like a kid again. (Or if you are still a kid, it will one day provide you with an instant-liquid-time-machine-link to your childhood which you will cherish once you're gray and old.) And anything that makes you feel like a kid again is good, in my book.

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happy 30 weeks! (the beginning of the end...or end of the beginning)

Even in the worst of times Fridays offer quite a bit to be happy about: the end of the work week or the beginning of the weekend (depending on whether you're a glass-half-empty or glass-half-full type of guy), an excuse to procrastinate all the mundane during-the-weekly things you hate to do (picking up the dry cleaning, writing that complaint letter to the idiots at Barclays bank, dealing with witless self-absorbed bosses, or even going to the doctor), and an almost unavoidable, ethereal and yet plainly recognizable feeling of freedom, temporary forgetfulness and anticipation.

that this feeling often ends by the time Saturday night is over and the harsh reality of
inevitable Monday once again looms menacingly above even the most deliciously gluttonous and company filled of Sunday brunches. Nevermind that. Friday is worth celebrating per se because...well, because. (That was the point of that pretentious italicized latin phrase, right?)

But this Friday is of singular importance and comes with especial reason to celebrate because it marks the end of a very specific beginning and the beginning of a very specific end.

Just as I have done for the past 29 weeks, every Friday I squeal a now familiar phrase at Matt. Sometimes I do it as he's sneaking out of the bedroom to go to the gym at 6:30am and make him jump. Sometimes I do it over the phone at 10:30am as he's sitting uncomfortably covering the phone receiver in his office and I'm sipping my decaf latte. Sometimes I do it while jumping at him in a comical oompa-loompa-esque fashion when he gets home for work. And even if I've already done it, I usually do it again while we're standing in the kitchen of a Thursday or Friday evening and Matt is taking a picture of my growing belly: Happy (insert number) weeks!

Today marks the "there's probably less than 10 weeks left until you're a parent" point. It marks the end of being "kind of pregnant" and puts me in the "legitimately large and worthy of a seat on the bus no matter who you are" category. It means that now people smile at me for no reason at all in the most random of places and knowing of ways. It means I kind of deserve (however annoying it may be) to have strangers question why I am purchasing prawns or brie cheese at the supermarket in the collective spirit of humanity and its preservation. And it also means I have an excuse to rub my belly pretty much whenever and wherever I want. Because the thing is, now, even the baby has lost all modesty and my stomach often involuntarily contorts into funny shapes because he's stretching or just plain being a brat. (Gee, I wonder who he takes after.)

So now the hour is nigh, I felt I should dedicate a post to the unbelievable past 30 weeks Matt and I have been through. This will inevitably include a lot of photos. *evil grin*

Oh but one last thing before I do the mammoth posting, as there seems to be some confusion among you: No, we are not naming the little guy Ludovictus. That's just his occasional (and uteran) nickname (Mom was reading The Last Samurai when she visited me in October). He does have a real name now, but we're keeping that conspiratorially secret . It's just one of those perks of being the parents.

9 weeks old and bucking like an upside down bronco & me unsuspectingly slothing about in Greece 4 weeks earlier

A thumbs-up to let us know all is well womb-side at 12 weeks & me with my friend Leah at Gabby & Brian's wedding in Ohio the same week.

Then suddenly at 19/20 weeks...I have a belly and he's a BOY (who looks uncannily like Mr. Magoo)!

Oh and while he was growing these perfect little feet...

...I was growing bigger... and bigger...and BIGGER!

We went to our 30 week midwife appointment last night at the Birth Centre and then celebrated with a feast of the Indian persuasion at Jaffna House, the local curry joint in Tooting. At the end of the dinner a woman with an open bottle of vodka on her table who had been sucking on crab legs offensively loudly when we first walked in and then took a quick 30-minute nap while we ate our meal looked up, sleepy-eyed, observed my belly as I walked out and suddenly broke into a semi-toothless grin followed by an enthusiastic thumbs up.

All in all, a very happy 30 weeks indeed.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Randomized and Semi-Legitimized Self-Absorption

Well, the old engine is officially running on this cold London morning now that I've had my requisite bowl of Special K with berries and a cup of decaf instant coffee (shameful, I know, but pregnancy makes you do crazy things for the sake of a healthy child and I just cannot bring myself to buy decaf in coffee's proper ground form - it just seems wrong).

Thought I'd get the proverbial ball rolling with a bizarrely popular post I was introduced to by several friends on Facebook. For the sake of simplicity, we'll call it the "25 Random Things About Me" post. You're supposed to tag friends you want to know more about on yours and surprisingly I've learned an awful lot of random but, yes, insightful things about people I at one point knew kinda well but apparently no longer do.

Before I dive head-first into the dramatic reveal of the 25 random things, I should comment on the irony of my even posting this. There are two reasons why I should probably not do it:

1. As you will soon see, I have a list of retroactive posts waiting (inside my brain) to be posted so that I can put the aforementioned culinary dalliances folder on Matt's picasa to work. I should really probably start with something more appropriate like "Carrot Walnut Bread: a serendipitous waltz with God's gift to bread & pancakes - Whole Wheat Flour." But I'm not gonna.

2. My friends Kristine and Krista apparently met some guy at a DC speak easy a couple of weekends ago who, in his wise inebriated state, declared all bloggers to be "self-absorbed." Well, I can't say I totally disagree with him actually. My only hope is that perhaps this self-absorption is excused and/or mitigated when the declarations of said self-absorption take on the form of relatively unimportant (and therefore non-egotistical?!) details only people who care about you anyway will want to read? You decide.

25 Random Things about Me

1. My favorite color is and always has been green. As a wee child of 3 or 4 years I boldly declared to my mother I would someday own a green house with a green car and green walls. I am still not opposed to two out of three of those things happening.

2. When I was in 4th grade at Rock Prairie Elementary, we had a playground with gravel flooring. Because I was not above occasional cartwheel or reckless flinging of my then-tinier-self off the jungle jim and onto the gravel, I always reentered the class with dusty, dirty hands. Every day I begged Mrs. Moses to allow me to wash said gravel dust off said dusty, dirty hands. Every day she said no and made me sit down, causing me to develop what I now recognize as a mild form of OCD which mostly manifests itself in an intense and compulsive need to always have clean hands.

3. I always prefer savory or sour over sweet except (apparently) when pregnant.

4. I started using the word "midget" and its contagious and self-created derivations (midgety, midgetesque, etc.) when I was 7 or 8 in reference to my little sister Carla who is now, ironically, marginally taller than me.

5. I LOVE tripe - against all odds. I especially love it in the form of the Mexican soup called Menudo (no, not the band). Not only is the texture one of my favorites, but this particular ingredient in this particular soup is a tried and true Mexican miracle cure for the world's worst hangovers (yes, better than Taco Cabana). You just can't hate anything about that.

6. My dream kitchen is the Mexican/Spanish Hacienda style kitchen out of "A Walk In The Clouds" (yes, the Keanu Reeves movie), which incidentally is also the movie I had my first (and highly traumatic) kiss at in the summer before 9th grade.

7. My first kiss was traumatic because my mom and dad were sitting in the same movie theater about 10 rows behind me and my boyfriend and saw the whole thing. I was subsequently grounded for two weeks. Thank you for that Mexican Gods of child-rearing.

8. I taught myself how to knit five years ago and only made my first legitimate creation - a green Debbie Bliss cashmerino cardigan for my unborn manchild - two weeks ago.

9. I have an olive tree in my living room and a laurel tree in my sunroom. I one day aspire to have a full-fledged orchard including (but not limited to) the following trees: lime, lemon, orange, olive, laurel, avocado, cherry, almond, fig, and hybrid orange-lemons like my grandma used to have.

10. I have, for the past 6 months or so, been eating bell peppers and cucumbers like apples. There's just something so appealing and refreshing about them.

11. I dislike cats.

12. As a child, I used to have a reoccurring dream that I was being chased in slow motion by a lion living in my mother's boss's garden. I now have the reoccurring and highly irrational paranoia that I will get stuck in a public bathroom with those stalls that have a door that goes a foot above the floor, and that a rabid lion will be on the loose looking for Brenda-flesh to devour and I will not be able to climb high enough on the wall or toilet to get away from that grizzly death.

13. Most nights I eat half a lemon (and when I say lemon, I mean lime, because I'm Mexican), salt shaker on the table next to me, one strand of lime pulp at a time. I'm not kidding. According to my dentist, this has not yet adversely affected my tooth enamel, so I'm just going to keep on keepin' on until it does.

14. I am obsessed with Dim Sum and regularly drag Matt to Chinatown for what always turns into a tribute to gluttony more than a regular meal. On that note, Happy Year of the Ox!

15. A couple of months ago (much to Matt's horror) I cursed at a Barclays bank employee after two years of pent-up frustration with their ineptitude finally released itself on an unsuspecting Indian woman at the Wandsworth branch stuck with the weekend shift. Further explanation of this may require a separate post. Stay tuned.

16. The only thing I have ever "stolen" was a couple of gummy bears from one of those Brach's Candy stands at Kroger and I felt so ashamed about it I broke down crying and confessed to it as soon as I got home.

17. My first pet was a black gerbil my uncle gave me in Mexico at the age of 3. I named him Michael Jackson.

18. I once had a dream to be in the same eating or drinking establishment with Tony Danza while living in New York. I missed out on it by five minutes in 2006 at Jake's Dilemma on the Upper West Side.

19. Before I met Matt, the only thing I really knew about Connecticut was that PT Barnum was once the Mayor of Bridgeport thanks to the 4th grade play I was part of the "Prologue Cast" (wtf is that?!) in: "The Life and Times of PT Barnum."

20. I'm not gonna lie - I like musicals. But mostly the classics like The Sound of Music, The King and I, Oklahoma, etc.

21. I once almost died from an allergic reaction and the consequent onset of anaphylactic shock after eating cajun gumbo in New Orleans. Despite this, I still cannot make myself abstain from ordering it.

22. In 4th grade a bull from the pasture behind the playground (yep, welcome to TX y'all) got loose. We were let out for recess anyway. Of course, as fate would have it, I was wearing a red jacket that day and was convinced it would maul me if I made one wrong move. No gravel-y hands that day.

23. To this day, the best birthday party I ever had was in 8th grade when I stashed a secret holding of 150 water-balloons in the backyard and brutally ambushed my guests with them while they unsuspectingly ate hot dogs and burgers in the backyard. Oh, and then my dad brought out the hose. That was the best.

24. I love eating raw garlic. It comes with the perk of good-smelling hands for the rest of the day.

25. I compulsively watch History Channel shows on World War II and the Holocaust and never get tired of them.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

little old me with a little old blog.

It took an uncomfortably long time for me to admit to myself (and Matt) that not only did I want a blog, but I kind of needed one.

I tried to believe my own anachronistic snobbery about the romanticism and dying art of my handwritten journals and the true artistic dedication it takes to actually print out copies of all the trivial but (I think) beautiful photographs documenting the marvelous things I've noticed or experienced or eaten or created. But alas, even I have to admit the blog has come to be a unique and rather useful medium - and one whose ever-tempting wiles I can no longer ignore.

I think the realization finally hit when I created the "culinary dalliances" photo album in Picasa on my husband's computer last week (which, incidentally, I have taken hostage since my Mac decided to rebel for the first time in the 5 years I've had it). I suddenly realized that relentlessly harassing my relatively limited circle of close friends and family with what must seem to them trivial and continual updates on the latest thing I'd cooked, creation I'd knitted, or place we'd visited was probably not kosher as far as cyber-etiquette goes.

So this little old blog, which is actually rather new, will be the much needed outlet for little old me. I'm hoping the aforementioned circle of friends and family (ahem) will use it to keep up to date with the many (though generally uneventful) and exciting (in my humble opinion) dalliances I indulge in from our flat in London and the areas surrounding it.

Like me, my musings will diverge into territories which could generally be considered so varied and random that they are, none of them, particularly serious. And like me again, it is in that respect that they are most consistent and probably most amusing. If you know me, you know I love to try almost anything (unless it involves scaling vertical stone surfaces without harnasses and/or rodents) and would say that most of the time, no matter what the intended and actual outcomes of my undertakings, I thoroughly enjoy them too.

It is in this spirit that I hope to share my impressions with you.

On that note, I think I'll close with a quote from one of my favorite poets of all time, whose rumination rings particularly true on the subject of aesthetic dallying and the living of life in general:

"Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always."
Rainer Maria Rilke
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