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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

Edinburgh: Day 2

an armrest at St. Giles Cathedral

Our first visit to Edinburgh’s city center today, and my suspicions have been confirmed: Edinburgh is gorgeous.  Because it’s a historically recognized city, there are loads of regulations that force new buildings to closely resemble old ones (which are meticulously maintained), for extra police cameras to be placed all over to keep people safe, the cobblestone streets are immaculately kept (even in the residential area I’m staying in), and so on.  The historical sites are well organized and never crowded. Navigating the city was a bit challenging at first, but it’s so small that we became familiar with it very quickly. The little alleys that shoot off from the Royal Mile (the main drag) every ten yards or so are adorable and mysterious.  There are rivers running under the occasional bridge, he areas around which are a vibrant green and have an untamed look to them.

The day went something like this: Wake up and eat store-bought croissants and honey with tea, walk to bus stop and get worried that we’ll miss our stop when the driver fails to call out each stop.  Arrive at city center, and immediately get lost. Walk a full circle before finally getting to our destination.
Our first stop was Gladstone’s Land, a 17th century house with beautiful painted ceiling beams in the bedroom.  Old houses were built up to 13 stories high!  Of course they also fell down a lot, too.

Greyfriar’s Bobby. what a sweetheart.

Next it was off to find some lunch.  We found The Hub in a guide book which we forgot back at the B&B, but found it again in our wanderings.  It’s a cafe (among other things) built within a large old church.  We got a cheese plate which did nothing to fill me up (although Boyfriend was oddly satisfied), and went off to meet up with our tour group.  A nice older lady gave us a general history of Edinburgh during our walking tour under a constant drizzle.  The rest of the group was very stern and didn’t laugh at any of her funny (and true) stories of old Edinburgh, so I made a point to keep a smile on my face and listen intently.  It was all very interesting, to tell the truth, and she did a very nice job.  At the end of the tour, she took us down under the North Bridge, a dank, moist place that would’ve been pitch black and reeking of burned fish (they burned fish oil in their portable lamps).  We got the overall impression that life back then was not something to be envied.  Gardy-loo!

We stopped in a little cafe to dry off and satisfy my growling stomach (I’ve been eating more than usual with all the walking around).  After some scrambled eggs and toast, we set off for St. Giles Cathedral, which was more ornate than I had imagined.  I didn’t know anything about it beforehand, but I didn’t expect there to be shrines and gravestones to various important and wealthy people inside.  I had forgotten how old Edinburgh really is; St. Giles Cathedral was founded in the 12th century, and has plenty of beautiful carvings and windows to show for it.  I paid three pounds to be allowed to take photos in the cathedral, and it was well worth it.

white chocolate, strawberry ice cream with a very thick whipped cream and chocolate on top

We made it to The Witchery for dinner in plenty of time, and were among the first seated of the night.  We had three course meals of butternut squash soup, salmon, beef, and ice cream and cheese for dessert.  I ordered the Atlantic blackened bream for the second course, but was told afterwards that the chef had a look at it and wasn’t satisfied, so they substituted with salmon, which might have been the best salmon I’ve ever had.

I ran into one totally impenetrable accent today (although Boyfriend professed to be able to understand every word, what a liar).  The man with the accent took our photo with a statue of the Greyfriar’s Bobby, a dog that guarded his master’s grave for fourteen years.  If possible, it was more adorable that I expected.  Anyway, it turns out this guy was telling us about the graveyard just around the corner that we should check out, and we did.  Super cool.

there were loads of these skull and crossbones all over the graveyard on very old tombstones

All the shops seem to sell the same thirty patterns of cashmere scarf/stole/blanket/skirt/kilt.  Not sure if I’ll end up getting anything at all here by the way of a souvenir, even though this part of the trip has been just fantastic.  What I really wanted was an Irish kilt pin.  They’re so lovely and simple, just a circle or a C shape with a pin going through.  But they’re all so expensive.  Maybe some other time.
After the bus and a short walk home, I realized we didn’t have enough for breakfast, so after a quick rest we were back outside to walk to the market: croissants for our tummies, batteries for my camera.
That’s all for today!  Tomorrow is Edinburgh Castle (for real this time), the Britannia yacht, and the Palace at Hollyrood.
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goodness, manfolk

One egg is un oeuf

Boyfriend drove two people to the airport this morning: his aunt (5am) and a friend of ours (8am).  Before leaving for the 8am drive to LAX, he asked if I wanted an omelet.  He made one with tomato and cheese, and left it in the microwave.  I ate it and had to leave before he came back.  What a sweetie.

pretty tasty

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A simple meal

perfection

I’ve been making myself really delicious dinners recently.  It’s not that I don’t love ramen.  I do.  I love ramen.  But it was time for a change.

I’ve been eating these delicious sandwiches: olive bread, brie with herbs, rotisserie chicken, lettuce, tobasco sauce.  Toasted.  Eaten.  Amazing.

Last night was simpler.  Spicy sausage, fried egg, toasted hunk of olive bread with butter, wine.  A few weeks ago, dinner was spicy sausage, cheese, wine.  Hearty, simple, delicious.  I’m going to have to do this more often.

Boyfriend and I went to the Red Lion in Silverlake months ago, and had beer, sausage and potatoes.  It was one of the best meals we’ve had together.

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