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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

Oban to Ayr

Breakfast was at 845 today: Canadian bacon, mushrooms and a poached egg with toast and tea, just like yesterday. I had about an hour to pull my things together and be out by 1015.

the man in the blue shirt and cap is the owner

My train to Glasgow wasn’t until 1, so I meandered down the hill and found a picnic table to sit and enjoy the view for the last time.  I pulled out my ukulele for he first time since JFK, tuned it up, and played just a couple of songs before some happa guy with glasses approached me and said he loved playing uke.  We started chatting and I invited him to sit down for a spell.  Turns out he has the same Lanikai ukulele back home in Atlanta (he was American), and an almost identical case (from this store on Etsy). We talked about what we liked about Oban, Edinburgh and Dublin (he loved Galway).  I asked where he’d eaten (food is an important topic while travelling), and he named a few fish and chips places, but he hadn’t been to the shack where I’d had oysters every day.  So we went and had half a dozen oysters each (his treat).  He was thoroughly impressed, of course.

We found a seat under the clock tower near the bus stop (his bus left at noon), and chatted some more until he left.  While we waited, an old man approached us with a smile and said, “I thought I should know your names since I took a photo of you!”  He had taken a photo of the clock tower, and since we occupied its base, we ended up in the shot.  I offered him a seat next to me, and he proceeded to monologue with pride about his Panasonic digital camera (similar to mine, but nicer), how he didn’t need to add extra lenses (so cumbersome) because of the excellent optical zoom on his camera.  And so on until he abruptly stood, blurted a friendly good-bye, and walked away.

fish stew and “crusty bread”

My American buddy and I exchanged emails; he lives in Atlanta and travels a good amount, so we’ll have to keep in touch.  After he left I went back to my picnic table and had some fish stew from a stand on the bay, so delicious.  I grabbed a good seat on the train, and started reading A Walk in the Woods, a hilarious and fascinating book by Bill Bryson about walking the Appalachian Trail.  I got bit by the hiking bug during my walk around Kerrera.  I’ll have to do some hiking when I get back.

After a transfer at Glasgow I was on my way to Irvine to see Scottish friend, whom I haven’t set eyes on since the 2004 trip to Romania where we met.  She met me at the train station with a hug, and laughed when I tried to get into the driver’s side of the car.  We picked up her cat from the vet, and chatted during the rather scenic drive to her house, where she lives with three very friendly and playful cats, and her boyfriend of several years.  He had food poisoning, and couldn’t come to dinner with us (which I was happy about, actually), poor guy.  Scottish Friend took me to a restaurant called Scott’s (I think?), where I immediately ordered the haggis as a starter, and an enormous seafood platter for the main dish.  The haggis was… amazing.  So delicious.  It was put together with some mashed potatoes on top and a cream sauce over the whole thing (which is typical, apparently) in a somewhat cylindrical fashion.  I was extremely impressed.  I asked Scottish Friend if people there really eat haggis all that often, and she said eats it about twice a week.  I’ll have to find a good place here in LA for it (although it’s such a volatile dish, that should be an adventure).

OHAI I DIDN’T SEE YOU THERE

We went home and looked through her photos of the Romania trip.  She remembered almost everyone’s names (I couldn’t remember hardly any).  She and her boyfriend and I stayed up and chatted about accents (apparently it’s commonly known that Scottish Friend is universally difficult to understand, since she has somehow managed to create an accent all her own), and their burning desire to visit America, bolstered by the boyfriend’s current obsession with Man v. Food, a show on the Travel Channel where some American man with inevitably high cholesterol eats ridiculous portions of enormous foods at diners and the like all over the country.  I told him I would be sure to show him all the best places too eat around Los Angeles: Korean food, sushi, pho (which they had never heard of!), burgers, pasta, sandwiches, etc.  This fanned the flames a good amount until it was time to go to bed.

I slept in their guest bed, which was the softest, warmest, fluffiest cloud-of-a-bed I had slept in during the whole trip.  I was devastated to get up at 5am to catch a flight in Prestwick to Dublin.  Scottish Friend was nice enough to wake up early and take me to the airport.  How do we get along so well after all these years?  Strange how a connection between two people can be so easy.  She is such a blast.  I can’t wait to see her again, soon I hope.

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goodness, life, martial arts, school, work

A quit and a launch

i'm flying!!

I had a big day.

I bought my ticket to Dublin, Ireland!  So exciting!  I’m leaving May 31st, coming back June 13th.  I’ll have to head straight to work the next day (no recuperation time), but it doesn’t matter!  I’m going to spend some time in Ireland, see Edinburgh, visit a friend in Scotland who I met in Romania, and maybe visit another friend I made in Romania (who is a native of Arad, Romania, and lives in London now, and works as a freelance translator).  Who knows, maybe I’ll take the chunnel to France, and visit anyplace at all, because I have two weeks to bum around Europe.  It kinda depends on whether Diminutive Roommate and come along or not.  Either way, I’m going abroad for two weeks!  It’ll be my first vacation since London with my family, more than three years ago.

thanks fer sneezin' on meh!

After I bought the ticket, I put in my letter of resignation to Karate Job.  My last day there will be May 18th, giving me time to go to Sister’s law school graduation and cover for my coworker at Office Job who could definitely use a day off.  I’ll miss the kids, that’s for sure.  They’re so funny.  I’ll miss getting their drawings, and hearing all the weird nonsense that goes on in their heads.

The other day one of the kids wouldn’t stop clearing his throat.  When I asked him what was wrong, he said, “There’s a frog in my throat!”  I said, “What’s his name?”  The boy thought for a second, then said, “Coffee.”  I asked him why, and he said, “Because he makes me cough!”  Naturally.  That’s the stuff I’ll miss.  My bosses were nice enough, and pretty straight forward kinda people.  I mean, they all have their own eccentricities (anal-retentiveness, hyper-controlling, obliviousness to the plight of the sensei’s, etc.), but I’m beyond complaining about it today.  I’m leaving soon, and after that I’m going to spend two weeks in Europe, and after that I start grad school.  I have nothing to complain about today.

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goodness, nerd

Knick-knacks

I set up a shelf from Ikea (which didn’t come with any way to attach it to the wall, so Home Depot to the rescue), and finally set out all my little chotchkies and what’s-its.

I like to think Kakashi is reading aloud to the Beastlies, and they are just horrified.  A bunch of this stuff (see bottom right portion) is odd little stuff my dad threw in my stocking this past Xmas.  What a weirdo.

Let’s identify all these little items, starting at the far left.

-Calendar which, when turned toward the operator, changes number up to 31, then starts over
-Clay representation of my family made in May of 1990 (kindergarten)
-Clay tiger with a Kanji character on its side, given to me by a British photographer who took some black and white photos of me a few times
-Plastic figurine of Hatake Kakashi from Naruto.  What a dreamboat.
-Beastlies!  All unique.
-Bronze statuette of a bathing woman; this is a miniature reproduction of a bronze statue that I really like, and a gift from my parental units.
-Jade ball within a jade ball x3; a gift from Mom’s college professor friend from China (to find me a boyfriend, if I recall), who always encouraged my writing and poetry.
-Clay bird whistle from the Apuseni Mountains in Romania.  There’s a little hole on the neck that changes the tone.
-Fox Xmas ornament, but I’ve never hung it on a tree after the first year Diminutive Roommate gave it to me.
Bottom shelf: all random items from my Xmas stocking this past year, except for the cheetah pen next to the pink ball (which lights up when struck), which was a gift from Teacher Roommate all the way from Barcelona, Spain.  She also brought back some earrings for me and Diminutive Roommate.

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goodness, humor, life

El vino

So… I dunno if you’ve ever heard of this stuff.  It’s called wine.  It’s this thing where people take grapes, and do stuff to them, then they squish ’em, then more shit happens to them, then BOOM, fuckin’ wine.  It’s delicious by the way.

Waaaaay back when, I traveled alone to Romania to meet up with a group of random students to do volunteer work and explore the country.  We spent the first two weeks in a city called Arad.  Lots of dirt roads, gypsies, wandering dogs, and other shit to make young Americans feel unsafe.  Plus we were there to spend time with “derelict youth” or something.  Most of us were around 19 or so, so naturally, we got drunk as often as possible.

nectar

Everything was über cheap, so we threw our U.S. dollars around like that shit was weighing us down.  I found this little liquor shop in town.  The owner flirted with me and the other girl I was with (he said something like, “you ladies are so tan, I wonder if your skin is light under your clothes” or some shit with his best broken English and child molester smiley-wink.  What an asshat).  Anyway, he sold really fuckin’ cheap wine that turned out to taste like sugar-infused liquid gold.  I shared my bottle the first night.  The second night, everyone showed up to hang out with their own bottles.  What a bunch of lushes.  It’s a fond memory.  There was a guy there, he was… 17 I think, named Adi.  What a cutie.  He was my first adult white boy crush.  He was so sweet.  I should hit him up.

Right, so it took me forever to figure out what the fuck that stuff was (I was clever enough to NOT bring the label home with me).  But I found it (or something just like it), dammit, and it is delicious.  In fact, time for a refill.  No I’m not fucking kidding.

So anyway, I finally found this stuff.  It’s called an Ausbrüch, which is usually apparently white, but this one is red red red.  The only real drawback is that it’s salty or something, so if I drink a bunch of it, I have to wake up twice in the middle of the night to chug a whole cup of water.  Huh.

UPDATE: February 25th, 9:46pm (my timestamp is screwed up, it’s not the 26th yet)

Holy shit!  I just found Adi on facebook!  Sent a request with a message like, hey you probably don’t remember me, we held hands and drank wine and I told you to stop smoking and stuff.  kthxbai!  For the record, I am not optimistic about this reunion.  He probably remembers me as the boorish American chick who harassed him for two weeks straight.  Ugh.  My first drunken facebook contact might turn out to crush me entirely.

UPDATE: February 26th, 4:09pm

Adi’s my facebook friend!  So random!  No contact, it’s just weird to see his face again.  Craaaaaazy.

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