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I can has goat?

Romania is a beautiful country with some amazing castles

Romania is gorgeous, and has some amazing castles

Boyfriend is coming back from working abroad tomorrow, hooray!  He went to London, then to Romania where he shot a commercial for some chips called Hoops, then back to London to spend a few days with family, and tomorrow night he’s back.  I’m so proud of him for doing well.  I mean, he’s getting flown all over the damn world to do what he loves, and getting paid BANK for it.  I’m missing him a good amount, though not as much as I have in the past.  Maybe I’m getting used to it?  I think all the Supernatural, 30 Rock and Samurai Champloo I’ve been watching on Netflix has helped.

Plus I spent a ton of time with Diminutive Friend this past weekend.  We made goat cheese from scratch and it actually turned out really well (a bit tart perhaps, but it’s a work in progress), which is a miracle because I definitely put the tannin in before the mesophilic culture (WRONG), and thought for a second that I totally wasted the liter of goat’s milk we bought at Trader Joe’s.

Carefully ladled out the cheese, placed in a strainer lined with cheese cloth, then strung  it up in the closet where Calico (Diminutive Roommate's insane cat) wouldn't try to eat it.  There it strained for six hours until it was ready to get salt sprinkled on.  Then we ate some and it was glorious.

Carefully ladled out the cheese, placed in a strainer lined with cheese cloth, then strung it up in the closet where Calico (Diminutive Roommate’s insane cat) wouldn’t try to eat it. There it strained for six hours until it was ready to get salt sprinkled on. Then we ate some and it was glorious.

I went to the Home Beer, Wine and Cheesemaking Shop to pick up tannin, mesophilic culture and cheesecloth, and had a nice chat with the woman who runs the place (Nancy Gold).  She mentioned that she’s interested in keeping bees, so I told her a bit about my experience so far.  Then we chatted about cheese, and she let slip that she wants to get a cow to keep her horse company in the little corral she has (and of course for milk to make cheese).  I told her that sounded great, and that we should keep in touch to potentially pursue getting some livestock together.

ADORABLE

ADORABLE

When I told Diminutive Friend about this conversation, she blurted out, “Let’s get a goat!”  It does sound like a cheap, less stressful alternative to keeping a cow.  I’m poking around to see if Dad would be interested in going in on this with us, since we were all fascinated by the cheesemaking book Diminutive Friend gave me for my birthday, and got into a discussion about where to buy milk.  I’m excited about tending to animals!  So awesome!

After that we met up with Teacher Friend (previously known as Teacher Roommate) to get sammiches at Mendocino Farms (Drunken Goat, plz) and went back to her place to eat and play Betrayal at House on the Hill, which we played a few times a week for months and months in the year the three of us lived together.  The minimum number of players is three, so we know this game backwards and forwards, and are really good at strategizing and fighting about the rules.

I also saw Little Iron Friend over the weekend, but we didn’t get to do as much bonding and reflection as we usually do because another kung fu friend was there.  I’m supposed to see her next weekend too, though, so maybe we’ll chat then.

Sunday morning I went to another beekeepers’ meeting in Silverlake with Dad.  It was the first meeting during which I felt I could actually answer questions accurately for all the new people, who (incredibly) made up about half the crowd.  I bought some honey from one of the beekeepers, and it’s delicious.  I met a happa family who had chickens already.  So jealous!

On an unrelated note, I had a good hard laugh at my desk when I found this today:

BYE BYE BYE

BYE BYE BYE

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goodness, manfolk

Ireland: Day 3

I cannot believe an illustration for Mr. Trout already exitst

We had another traditional Irish breakfast today, along with a dish of scrambled eggs with smoked trout, which Boyfriend immediately took to calling “Mr. Trout,” and continued with a little song, and, as the day wore on, full character description (he’s a detective who wears a fedora, has a family, and travels all over the world).  According to Boyfriend, “He’s on the case.”

After breakfast I went back to bed for a nap (my clock is still on Los Angeles time).  Boyfriend woke me up with stories of Mr. Trout.

We wandered around the city looking for Dublin Castle for a bit, and heard some enormous noise coming from the city center.  A formula 1 race was going on, so we went to check it out.  So loud!  We didn’t get to see any formula 1 cars, but we did see two very fast cars pull donuts right next to each other.

We got some fish and chips from a chain called Leo Burdock, super delicious, best fish and chips I’ve ever had.  And it looked like I got a whole fish!  Way too much food.  It was takeout only, so we popped into a hotel lobby and pretended to be guests while we ate and made use of their facilities.

We finally found Dublin Castle, bought tickets for the 4:40 tour, and visited Dublinia, the viking museum!  There were all kinds of dioramas with far too realistic-looking people (one of which is looking right at you as you turn a corner, super creepy), and a place to try on Viking clothes and helmets (which we did, with a fearsome pose).

Dublin Castle’s front door knobs were shiny lions, raaargh!

We rushed back to catch our tour of Dublin Castle, which I pictured in varying degrees of ruin, but it’s actually a fully functioning government building in most parts, and it’s just beautiful.  It lacks the gaudy, gold-plated look of older palaces of Europe, and instead has a quiet sense of cohesion and historical class that other, more ostentatious European buildings seem to be dripping with. We got to see what’s left of the Powder Tower (where the kept the gunpowder until it all blew up and burned the castle for two straight days), which was super cool.  The tour went too quickly.

We were signed up for a traditional music pub crawl at 7ish that starts at Gogarty’s Pub, so we found the place, then relaxed at an inn by the river to get tea and recharge before the crawl.  At Gogarty’s we had a cup of Guiness and a half-dozen oysters (delicious!) before we started out on the crawl.  There was a guitarist with a lovely voice, and an Uilleann piper (what he described as similar to Scottish bagpipes, “The only difference is Uilleann pipes sound good”), both of whom were very friendly and funny.  The Uilleann pipes really do produce a gorgeous sound, a deeper and more broadly ranging tone that, once it gets going, is impossible to resist stomping your foot on the floor to keep the beat.  The crawl was my favorite part of the trip so far for sure.  Afterward we grabbed more fish and chips (from the same chain, different location, since it was the only place open at 11pm on a Sunday) and wandered over to The Duke, where the piper recommended that we go to hear more live music (on our way in a woman almost ran us over on her way out.  The guy following her said to us, with a laugh, “Quick one, in’t she?  FOKKIN’ ‘ell!”).  The bar tender filled us in on the intricacies of Guiness, which tastes totally different and delicious here.  Apparently there’s a bar in Spain where the owner meticulously cleans the pipes once per week, which makes the Guiness taste “gorgeous.”  He said that Guiness is “like a baby” (very sensitive) and on a cold day the head will be smaller.

Anyway, the piper pointed out that good traditional music is played not for an audience, but in more of a jam session among the musicians, and that if you approach them to ask them to sing your favorite song, “the most polite answer you’ll get is something along the lines of ‘Well sing it yourself, then.'”

A few things I learned at the pub crawl:
-When an Irish person says ‘Irish’ it sounds like ‘Arsh’
-The Irish are “very hard to pin down” and are “notorious for never quite giving a straight answer.”  A man once asked for directions in Cork, and was told, “Well I wouldn’t start from here.”
-When drinking the two phrases commonly used are “Just the one,” and “Never again.”
-When playing that hollow drum they hold with the left arm and play with a short stick with the right, a good way to keep the beat is to say one of a few phrases in your head, like ‘Black and Decker, Black and Decker, Black and Decker,’ or for a different beat, ‘rachers and sausages, rachers and sausages.’  The piper said, “You can’t tell a child learning to play this instrument to play in four-four time with an upbeat every other measure.  The response you’ll get is, “I’m bored,” and my response is of course, “Me too, let’s go to a pub,” at which point they’ll say, “We can’t go to a pub, I’m just a child.”  So to avoid saying things that will get me fired from teaching positions, we stick with things like ‘Black and Decker’ instead.  I don’t know what we did before power tools.”
-A singalong is called a sing-song.
-The guitarist said, “If you were to kill someone with an Irish flute, you’d never get away with it because everyone plays it differently so you’d be recognized instantly.”
-One hilarious song they sang was about an Irishman who went to California during the gold rush, and was hoodwinked by a man dressed as a woman.  “She” got him drunk, took him to bed where he fell asleep, and when he awoke, he found a woman’s clothes, wig, and a shaving kit. So he puts it on, and goes outside and a man gives him a wink.  He sees how much money this man has, and offers him a drink in turn.  The chorus was something like “Her lips were red, here eyes were blue, her hair was as yellow as the gold she stole from me.”

nicer than our room by a lot

We crashed in bed and played Draw Something for a little while.  I’m actually writing this in the lobby the following morning (day 4), with some Italian tourists in the couch nearby since we have trouble getting a wireless connection in our room on the lower level.  Yesterday started with rain so we went out to look for ponchos.  I asked a couple of guys who were wearing some cheap ones where they got them, and they took them off and gave them to us.  So nice, such generosity.

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goodness, manfolk

Ireland: Day 2

Day two in Dublin started with sun and ended with rain.  Apparently the weather change happens a lot here.

otters are the best

Boyfriend and I saw the Book of Kells today!  What a whimsical, incredible work of art.  There are all kinds of bizarre animals, like a bird with its feet in its mouth for a prominent “D”, and an otter with a fish caught in its mouth, which is now obviously my favorite part.

After that we exited into the Long Room, which houses all kinds of neat old books (I was told yesterday that “neat” is a distinctly American word).  I love old books, and the high ceiling is so pretty.  There was also a really cool wrought iron spiral staircase which Boyfriend and I really wanted to take a photo of, but alas, no photos allowed (but I found this one online that doesn’t quite do it justice).

note to self: WANT

We grabbed some sandwiches at Neary’s (smoked salmon, and chicken), then walked back to get a tour of Trinity College from a very funny graduate student.  It had started to drizzle, so when we got home we relaxed and forgot we had to be at dinner by 6 until 610.  It was 1.3 miles away.

We zoomed over in a taxi and were put in with the 7pm dinner group.  It was at The Brazen Head, Dublin (and possibly Ireland’s) oldest pub.  There we had a three course meal over a pint and coffee with dessert, and enjoyed some folklore and local history.  There were loads of Americans there, and the songs were great.

We didn’t end until 1030, and by then it was raining.  We mapped out a route home and got wet all the way.  I was getting into a bit of a sour mood until I reminded myself that this was Dublin.  It rains here all the time.  I should really just get used to it.  Then Boyfriend pointed out that we could put our clothes on the heater when we got back to the hotel room, and I got super excited.  Extra warm clothes for a cold day?  Yes please!

Breakfast this morning was delicious, by the way.  We’re having breakfast every day at the hotel, and it’s just lovely.  One of us ordered crepes with fruit, and the other got an egg with sausage, bacon, half a tomato, and pudding (some kind of oatmeal cake, not bad).  I’m looking forward to that tomorrow.  Plus, Dublin Castle!

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