Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve


Christmas Eve, originally uploaded by ~~~AiDualC~~~.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas

... and don't over indulge :-)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Clever !

24cads19

Martial Arts School Advertisement

Nikon D700 DSLR cake

nikond700cake1

Not only was Flickr user fsumaria surprised with this very original Nikon D700 DSLR cake for her birthday, but her husband gave her the real camera as well. Some people have all the luck!
The cake was made by a bakery in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, the outside was made of fondant and the inside is red velvet cake.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Popular reading

somethingtoread

Instapaper is a small web tool that lets you mark web pages you want to read later. Give Me Something To Read is a site (and feed) that bubbles up popular Instapaper articles pegged for reading later. Great for knowing what looks interesting enough to make people want to come back.

Les Marionettes

Litany

Ladainha dos póstumos Natais

Há-de vir um Natal e será o primeiro
em que se veja à mesa o meu lugar vazio

Há-de vir um Natal e será o primeiro
em que hão-de me lembrar de modo menos nítido

Há-de vir um Natal e será o primeiro
em que só uma voz me evoque a sós consigo

Há-de vir um Natal e será o primeiro
em que não viva já ninguém meu conhecido

Há-de vir um Natal e será o primeiro
em que nem vivo esteja um verso deste livro

Há-de vir um Natal e será o primeiro
em que terei de novo o Nada a sós comigo

Há-de vir um Natal e será o primeiro
em que nem o Natal terá qualquer sentido

Há-de vir um Natal e será o primeiro
em que o Nada retome a cor do Infinito


David Mourão-Ferreira, in "Cancioneiro de Natal"


Rough translation:

There will come a Christmas and it will be the first
in which one will see my empty seat at the table

There will come a Christmas and it will be the first
in which I'll be remembered less clearly

There will come a Christmas and it will be the first
in which only a voice will evoke me alone with it

There will come a Christmas and it will be the first
in which no one I knew is alive anymore

There will come a Christmas and it will be the first
in which not even a verse in this book is alive

There will come a Christmas and it will be the first
In which I'll have Nothingness again with me

There will come a Christmas and it will be the first
in which not even Christmas will have any meaning anymore

There will come a Christmas and it will be the first
in which Nothingness will again become the hue of Infinity

David Mourão-Ferreira, in "Cancioneiro de Natal"

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Happy Birthday, Tom Waits





"Don't you know there ain't no devil, there's just god when he's drunk"...

Sometimes my soul is the colour of your sound, Tom.



Saturday, December 06, 2008

Christmas Tree 2008

Christmas Tree
Well, the Christmas decorations are up even though I don't especially feel like celebrating Christmas this year. The kids helped a lot. Lots of scented candles to help relax and feel cosy.

Just heard from Nia's mother. Things are going to be even harder than expected.

Where's justice?

passeio APAC 25Nov2006 041

trial_2009


It's been a year today since my very dear friend Mauricio Levy was brutally murdered in the garage of his own home. His confessed murderer, who stabbed him more than 10 times in the chest and in the face while he was still sitting in his car after returning from work, is under house arrest and hasn't stood trial after all this time. It's been very difficult to come to terms with this atrocity. All I hope now is that, after two postponements, the justice of man may finally be done without any further delays.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Evelyn de Morgan, Lux in Tenebris, 1895

Uploaded by Gatochy

Smile



"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared."

-- Buddha --


The Guardian reads that new research has confirmed that happiness is catching: if those around you are happy, chances are you'll be happy too. I guess that the reverse logic is also true and that if everyone around you is miserable you'll be depressed pretty soon, too.

So, for the sake of general well-being - including our own - we should try to put on a happy face and be cheery even when we feel that Life sucks big time. Hopefully after a while it won't be an effort to smile and be cheery anymore and we'll be contributing to the happiness of those we love. We already knew this but I guess it's good to be reminded of it.

Nia's having her bone marrow transplant as I write this and tomorrow is the first anniversary of my best friend's brutal murder. I feel pretty miserable but what good does it do to go around in a foul mood with a sad frown on my face? Just makes everyone else miserable too. So I'll keep my chin up and smile. As long as we have to put up with Life, we might as well try making the best of it for everyone around us.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

My favourite Chanel

Now borrow and spend!

The Bank of England has just cut interest rates by one percentage point from 3% to 2%, their lowest level since 1951.
Let's jump-start the economy: spend, spend more, spend even more, never stop spending even if you have to borrow all you spend and drown in a sea of debt. What's the use of saving anyway?

It's soooooooo cold!

Frozen

It's -4ºC outside, very clear, very icy and no snow! Brrrrrrrrrr....!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The sudden thundering of obscured and concealed sounds

lighthouse

". . . so that the monotonous fall of the waves on the beach, which for the most part beat a measured and soothing tattoo to her thoughts seemed consolingly to repeat over and over again as she sat with the children the words of some old cradle song, murmured by nature, ‘I am guarding you—I am your support," but at other times suddenly and unexpectedly, especially when her mind raised itself slightly from the task actually in hand, had no such kindly meaning, but like a ghostly roll of drums remorsely beat the measure of life, made one think of the destruction of the island and its engulfment in the sea, and warned her whose day had slipped past in one quick doing after another that it was all ephemeral as a rainbow—this sound which had been obscured and concealed under the other sounds suddenly thundered hollow in her ears and made her look up with an impulse of terror."

Virginia Woolf in "To the Lighthouse"

Meaningless sound and fury

photo by Luisa Cruz

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

--William Shakespeare in Macbeth--

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Aim high

aim

Urban Furniture: Basket From Spy

Aim high... and be prepared to fail.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Night

night
Georgia O'Keeffe - New York, Night - 1929

One of the very few Georgia O'Keeffe paintings that I like.

Ana's French homework

Ana had to come up with a short essay for her 3rd year French class on what she thinks her future will be like at several different ages. What she wrote really amused me!


French Homework – Ana W.

18- À 18 ans, j’irai à l’université, je parlerai cinq langues (Anglais, Portugais, L’Allemand, Français et Italien), et j’aurai mon permis de conduire. Aussi, j’achèterai ma propre, rouge, petite voiture et je conduirai mes amis autour!! =D Nous irons au cinéma, les magasins, etc... Je regarderai films d’horreur comme The Ring, The Fog et The Shining parce que je serai 18!

24 - À 24 ans, j’habiterai aux Etats-Unis, parce que c’est un pays intéressant et moderne, ou au Portugal, parce que c’est mon pays natale! Aussi, je travaillerai dans une école primaire (parce que j’aime les enfants), j’achèterai une maison grande et moderne, et je rencontrerai l’homme de mes rêves...

30- À 30 ans, je visiterai la Suisse parce que c’est un beau pays. Aussi, j’aurai une petite famille, et j’achèterai un chien (labrador). J’adore les chiens!! Ils sont adorables. Et j’achèterai un chat blanc et noir, parce que les chats sons doux.

40- À 40 ans, je serai une scientiste, parce que j’aime la science et c’est mon sujet préféré. Je voudrai voir le monde en bateau parce que je voudrai visite Dubai, Tokyo, Berlin, Rome, Californie, etc... Aussi, j’irai voir la grande muraille de Chine. C’est magnifique !

60- Je serai retraité, très heureuse et relâché. =)

Flippin' Finn


Finn at 5 months.

Directed by Nia

Voice-off: Clara

Stunts: Finn

Let there be light

eggslight3

Creative Egg Light by Igor Pinigin

When pigs grow wings and fly!

UK 'closer' to adopting the euro

The UK is "closer than ever before" to joining the euro, according to the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso.

Speaking on a French radio show,
he said British politicians were considering the move because of the effects of the global credit crunch.

In the same interview, Mr Barroso also forecast that interest rates will drop in Europe.

However Downing Street said its position on the euro remained the same.

Mr Barroso acknowledged "the majority" of British people continued to oppose joining the eurozone.

But he said the recent economic uncertainty had made the currency a far more attractive option.

Confidential conversations

In the RTL radio/LCI television broadcast, the former prime minister of Portugal said: "We are now closer than ever before.

"I'm not going to break the confidentiality of certain conversations, but some British politicians have already told me, 'If we had the euro, we would have been better off'. "

He said that the current poor economic situation had emphasised the importance of the euro and the UK but added he believed a move would not take place in the immediate future.

"I know that the majority in Britain are still opposed, but there is a period of consideration under way and the people who matter in Britain are currently thinking about it", he said.

The value of sterling compared with other currencies has fallen during the credit crunch, and the UK government has had to spend massively in recent months to try to support the economy.

'Awaiting decisions'

During the interview, Mr Barroso highlighted the situation in Denmark - an EU state that voted against joining the eurozone in 2000, but is now considering holding a new referendum on the single currency.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "We have no comment on this. Our position on the euro is the same - it has not changed."

Mr Barroso also said he expected the European Central Bank (ECB) to make a clear move to cut interest rates next week.

He said the conditions were right for a fall, but did not give further details adding: "I am awaiting decisions from the European Central Bank that go in this direction."

Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the ECB, has said that the bank could cut rates in the coming week as long as there is evidence that inflation pressures have eased.

The European Union has called for a 200bn euro boost across Europe to help stimulate an economic recovery.


--from The BBC --

Me in a nutty nutshell


Your Personality is the Rarest (INFJ)


Your personality type is introspective, principled, self critical, and sensitive.
Only about 2% of all people have your personality - including 3% of all women and around 1% of all men.
You are Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging.



Rara avis, that's me, what else?!...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Caminante

A thousand tales...

Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino, y nada más;
caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
Al andar se hace camino,
y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda que nunca
se ha de volver a pisar.
Caminante, no hay camino,
sino estelas en la mar


- Antonio Machado -

Whatever will be, will be



When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother, what will I be
Will I be pretty, will I be rich
Here's what she said to me

Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be

When I grew up and fell in love
I asked my sweetheart what lies ahead
Will we have rainbows, day after day
Here's what my sweetheart said

Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be

Now I have children of my own
They ask their mother, what will I be
Will I be handsome, will I be rich
I tell them tenderly

Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be

Child

Sunset eyes

Your clear eye is the one absolutely beautiful thing.
I want to fill it with color and ducks,
The zoo of the new
Whose name you meditate--
April snowdrop, Indian pipe,
Little

Stalk without wrinkle,
Pool in which images
Should be grand and classical

Not this troublous
Wringing of hands, this dark
Ceiling without a star.

-- Sylvia Plath

Friday, November 28, 2008

Uh-oh!

pogueomatic

Uh-oh! The Pogue-o-matic just spotted I need to get a Nikon D90 for Christmas... Just don't buy it tomorrow, ok?

The perils of sharing...

"Whatever purpose a piece of information may have been created and shared for, it will eventually be used for something else"

"Something new has recently occurred in the timeless human activity of socialising, and it will begin to cause a lot of grief in 2009. The fashionable term for it is “sharing”. In its new context, this refers to volunteering personal information that used to be considered off-limits to all but the most intimate friends and relatives—but that is now taking on a life of its own.

It may consist of daily photos to chronicle a pregnancy, uploaded to websites such as Flickr or Facebook and adorned by comments from “friends”, real and imagined. Or video clips of bacchanalia by the hockey team. Or geo-tagged and time-dated clips of the girls’ softball team’s weekly practice, with each girl’s name tagged and pointing to a MySpace page.

But things can go wrong in pregnancies, and prying eyes that are not those of friends suddenly witness tragedies or a cruel hiatus in updates. College-admissions deans and potential employers browse bacchanalian footage. Perverts can plot detailed schedules of a particular girl’s movements on a given practice day.

People have always tried to manage their reputation, and today’s new media give them powerful tools to do just that. So most people participate, and share, enthusiastically. This is rational, says Edward Felten, a privacy expert at Princeton University, because they get benefits: inclusion into a community and more control in crafting and presenting their own image.

The problem is that they quickly lose that control. This has to do with what Steven Rambam, a professional investigator, modestly calls “Rambam’s Law”: whatever purpose a piece of information may have been created and shared for, it will eventually be used for something else. There was a time when the likes of Mr Rambam got paid big bucks to snoop out somebody’s picture, sexual history, mother’s maiden name (still a popular password) and list of friends. Today, this is a matter of minutes spent stitching together data from a few web sites. An identity thief, a political rival, a bitter ex-spouse, a litigant—anybody who is savvy and wants information—can get it.

Most of the paranoia about privacy in the internet era has focused on the power of companies, primarily Google, to collect information about all our doings online. Google installs cookies in web browsers that record the search history of users; it analyses the text in e-mails to insert relevant advertisements; it takes photos of private homes—occasionally with the residents visible—and adds them to its online maps.

This makes it necessary for the public to scrutinise Google and similar companies, and to hold them accountable for any breaches of privacy. But Sergey Brin, one of Google’s two founders, is also right to point to the risk of an asymmetrical hysteria. The public may have overreacted to the perceived threat of Google. Google ensures that computers, rather than humans, “read” user data. And Google has a powerful incentive to protect its users’ information, rather as the self-interest of banks includes proper custody of depositors’ data.

Meanwhile, the public has mostly ignored the bigger danger: ourselves. Anybody with a mobile phone that is also a camera is today a potential producer of an autobiographical documentary. She may upload this for fame, friendship and fun, but it may come back to hurt her.

Does that mean that it is prudent to opt out of Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube and their ilk? Probably not. Participation has become automatic. Even as the camera phone makes each individual an autobiographer, it also makes all the people around her into freelance paparazzi, with their own tabloid-style press (the web). Those paparazzi capture, tag and gossip about her in their own photos, clips and “twitters”.

So there we are, a Google search away, for all to see in places and company we should not have been in, the unwitting backdrop of other people’s documentaries.

The only remaining choice is whether or not to inject our own perspective, with our own media, into this never-ending stream of narratives, to preserve whatever control remains in presenting our own image. The wise will still share things about themselves in 2009. But they will become hyper-sensitive about sharing collateral information about others, in the hope that reciprocity and a new etiquette will eventually limit everybody's vulnerability, including their own. "

Andreas Kluth: San Francisco correspondent, The Economist

Just like honey

Monday, November 24, 2008

Do your bit this Christmas

BND

The Buy Nothing Day is an annual protest against consumerism and globalisation. Its organisers describe it thus:

"Buy Nothing Day (Saturday November 29), is a simple idea, which challenges consumer culture by asking us to switch off from shopping for a day. It's a global stand off from consumerism - celebrated as a holiday by some and street party for others! Anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending!"

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the inequity of 20% of people in the rich world consuming 80% of the world's resources - and the environmental destruction that stems from that consumption. And some have taken it much further than just one day out of the shops.

"The idea is to make people stop and think about what and how much they buy effects the environment and developing countries. Increasingly large companies use labour in developing countries to produce goods because its cheap and there aren't the systems to protect workers like there are in the west."

Friday, November 21, 2008

Selecting A Reader

12749w_hoppercompartmentc
Edward Hopper, Compartment C, Car 293, 1938

First, I would have her be beautiful,
and walking carefully up on my poetry
at the loneliest moment of an afternoon,
her hair still damp at the neck
from washing it. She should be wearing
a raincoat, an old one, dirty
from not having money enough for the cleaners.
She will take out her glasses, and there
in the bookstore, she will thumb
over my poems, then put the book back
up on its shelf. She will say to herself,
"For that kind of money, I can get
my raincoat cleaned." And she will.

--
Ted Kooser

From the archives

Claudia Trafaria Cadeira 1973
Me in the Summer of 1973, when I was 7. Why on Earth wasn't I smiling? I should have smiled more throughout life... Grumpy girls become grumpy old women!

Google Doodles - Magritte's Birthday


Google keeps on coming up with some great commemorative doodles. Today's marks René Magritte's 110th birthday.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Happy Birthday, Blue-Eyed Sis!



Tons of love!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Prayer

Twilight Zone

Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer
utters itself. So, a woman will lift
her head from the sieve of her hands and stare
at the minims sung by a tree, a sudden gift.

Some nights, although we are faithless, the truth
enters our hearts, that small familiar pain;
then a man will stand stock-still, hearing his youth
in the distant Latin chanting of a train.

Pray for us now. Grade 1 piano scales
console the lodger looking out across
a Midlands town. Then dusk, and someone calls
a child's name as though they named their loss.

Darkness outside. Inside, the radio's prayer -
Rockall. Malin. Dogger. Finisterre.

--
Carol Ann Duffy


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Obs. Rockall, Malin,Dogger, Finisterre are all sea areas in the shipping forecast issued by the Meteorological Service, and broadcast by BBC Radio Four. The shipping forecast always follows a set pattern, a formalised routine. You can readthe current one at http://www.met-office.gov.uk/datafiles/offshore.html. Read it out loud and savour the words as they roll off your tongue! There's a map of the shipping forecast areas at http://www.met-office.gov.uk/leisure/shiparea.html. The broadcast goes out at 12.30 and 05.30, so that you tend to catch it if you can't sleep late at night or if you've woken up early, worrying - and then you follow the coast of the British Isles in your mind's eye and think of those working the dark sea areas, and sometimes you feel soothed.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Post Traumatic Obama Disorder



Must see AND hear! Absolutely hilarious!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thank you!

Get Well

It came in the mail in a HUMONGOUS box before 8am! It was the first thing Clara saw when she woke up. She was thrilled! She's so much better now. She can't wait to go back to school next week! At least she's had more time to chat with Nia online. They both have their webcams on and have loads of fun playing 3d tic-tac-toe, chess, Barbies or webkinz with each other. Hurray for technology!

Monday, November 10, 2008

She's much better :-)

Clara

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Autumn day

Autumn in the garden

The colours on display outside the girls' bedroom window are so beautiful I couldn't help but snap a shot and pin it here.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

President Obama

video

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Years of my life...

years

... spent in mazes of concrete and asphalt. They look so insignificant from above...

Everything in life changes with perspective and time.

As for right now, I'm just killing time, waiting to find out who the next president of the USA will be. Big night.

Jellyfish

219_jelly-group_katonah_12
Jellyfish - sizes variable: approx. 16" x 16" x 36" - hand blown glass, neon
by
Eric Ehlenberger

Bird on a wire

Autumn Daybreak

Gold Autumn Sky

Cold wind of autumn, blowing loud
At dawn, a fortnight overdue,
Jostling the doors, and tearing through
My bedroom to rejoin the cloud,
I know—for I can hear the hiss
And scrape of leaves along the floor—
How may boughs, lashed bare by this,
Will rake the cluttered sky once more.
Tardy, and somewhat south of east,
The sun will rise at length, made known
More by the meagre light increased
Than by a disk in splendour shown;
When, having but to turn my head,
Through the stripped maple I shall see,
Bleak and remembered, patched with red,
The hill all summer hid from me.

--- Edna St. Vincent Millay ---

Monday, November 03, 2008

Good Night

goodnighteileen_2

Design: Christine Birkhoven

The concept for the
good night eileen lamp is based on the archaic hand-lamp, which was used for illumination moving from one room to another at home in the dark.

The idea behind it is to give the user a clear message through the product. The form language is unmistakable; the lamp can be taken anywhere in the house e.g. at night to the kitchen or toilet. The lamp does not need to be switched on anywhere, because good night eileen recharges on its base and continues to shine as soon as it leaves the base for a view minutes before slowly fading.

The ceramic material plays an important role by transporting the user back to a time of candle-holders and hand-lamps by means of its appearance and feel and primarily by the way it is held. The lamp is also equipped with modern LED technology which allows low use of electricity. Electricity is transferred between the lamp and its base via magnetic induction, i.e. there is no visible connection.

Vincent



Starry, starry night.
Paint your palette blue and grey,
Look out on a summer's day,
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul.
Shadows on, the hills,
Sketch the trees and the daffodils,
Catch the breeze and the winter chills,
In colors on the snowy linen land.

Now I understand what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they did not know how.
Perhaps they'll listen now.

Starry, starry night.
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze,
Swirling clouds in violet haze,
Reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue.
Colors changing hue, morning field of amber grain,
Weathered faces lined in pain,
Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand.

Now I understand what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they did not know how.
Perhaps they'll listen now.

For they could not love you,
But still your love was true.
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night,
You took your life, as lovers often do.
But I could have told you, Vincent,
This world was never meant for one
As beautiful as you.

Starry, starry night.
Portraits hung in empty halls,
Frameless head on nameless walls,
With eyes that watch the world and can't forget.
Like the strangers that you've met,
The ragged men in the ragged clothes,
The silver thorn of bloody rose,
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow.

Now I think I know what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they're not listening still.
Perhaps they never will...

- Don McLean -

On problems

kandinsky
Vasily Kandinsky, Composition 8, 1923

Our choicest plans
llll have fallen through
our airiest castles
llll tumbled over
because of lines
llll we neatly drew
and later neatly
llll stumbled over.

-- Piet Hein --


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


"A grook ("gruk" in Danish) is a form of short aphoristic poem. It was invented by the Danish poet and scientist Piet Hein. He wrote over 7,000 of them, most in Danish or English, published in 20 volumes. Some say that the name is short for "GRin & sUK" ("laugh & sigh" in Danish), but Piet Hein said he felt that the word had come out of thin air. His gruks first started to appear in the daily newspaper "Politiken" shortly after the Nazi Occupation in April 1940 under the signature Kumbel Kumbell. The poems were meant as a spirit-building, yet slightly coded form of passive resistance against Nazi occupation during World War II. The grook are characterized by irony, paradox, brevity, precise use of language, sophisticated rhythms and rhymes and often satiric nature."

(Source Wikipedia)

For Magritte lovers

JP_Jeeves_popup

Or Jeeves and Wooster lovers...

Jeeves by Jake Phipps - pendant light suitable for any aspiring gentleman or conscientious manservant where class and sophistication are the essential components to illumination. Jeeves’s bowler hat is lined with a refined gold interior and exudes that quintessential British combination of regimented style and eccentricity.

Apricot and almond pudding

Hubby's favourite pudding:

4 tablespoons of apricot jam (I usually use a whole jar)
60 g of pudding rice (short-grain rice)
4 dl of whole milk
150 g of sugar (I usually use caster sugar)
750 g of Egremont Russet apples (reinette/reinetas; any other are fine but these are best)
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 dl of double cream
1 egg white
2 tablespoons of flaked almonds
2 tablespoons of grounded almonds

Pour the milk into a saucepan, add the vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons of sugar and the milk and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Leave it to simmer - covered, on a low flame - for 25 minutes or until the rice cooks. Stir occasionally. After cooked, leave it to cool for about 30 minutes.
Peal the apples, remove the core and slice them. Pour 3 dl of water into a saucepan, add 120 g of sugar and stir over a low flame until the sugar dissolves.
When it comes to a boil, add the apple slices and leave to cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until they're soft. Using a sieve, drain the apples and leave them to dry for about 10 minutes.
Whip the cream until it just starts to thicken and then fold in the cooked rice, mixing well with a wooden spoon.
Beat the egg white until it's firm and then fold in the grounded almonds and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Set aside.
Cover the bottom of a round Pyrex container with the apricot jam.
Spread the apples evenly on top of this layer.
Spread the cream and rice mixture evenly over the apples.
Spread the egg white mixture evenly over the rice.
Sprinkle with the flaked almonds.
Put the Pyrex container in the oven set to hot (8) for just enough time to slightly toast the flaked almonds.
Serve hot or cold.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

When you are old


Vilhelm Hammershoi, originally uploaded by Gatochy.


When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars

-- W.B. Yeats --

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Brilliant



Goo-Shun Wang created this brilliant movie “Hallucii” in 2006 at the MFA Computer Art, School of Visual Arts, New York. It carries forward the creative torch in the spirit of the Penroses and M. C. Escher.

Enjoy the level-transcending camera metaphor and subtle details, like the bottle label.


Source: Michael’s “Optical Illusions & Visual Phenomena"

Friday, October 31, 2008

What's your tarot card?

Found this quiz at Gatochy's. For what it's worth, this is my tarot card...


You are The Moon


Hope, expectation, Bright promises.


The Moon is a card of magic and mystery - when prominent you know that nothing is as it seems, particularly when it concerns relationships. All logic is thrown out the window.


The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. You may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if you have any past mental problems, you must be vigilant in taking your medication but avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause them irreparable damage. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. You can and should trust your intuition.


What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Halloween 2008

Halloween

halloween

This time round only Clara braved the elements to go out trick or treating with her friends. Ana had a bad cold and so she stayed at home and answered the door to the little pranksters that came calling after nightfall. The devil costume worn by Ana last year was this year's costume for Clara and she looked really cute in it and not devilish at all. In spite of the cold, her group of friends had a great time going around the neighborhood in the dark and there was plenty of excitement, giggling and candy. When Clara saw a shooting star in the sky she suggested that everyone wish for Nia to get better soon and so everyone did. Sweet, isn't it?
Hubby's birthday was celebrated with his favourite dessert and birthday cake. They came out tasting exceptionally good this year.

Happy Halloween!

The Promise - Girls Aloud

video

My kiddos love this!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

i carry your heart

12_18-paulKlee-RedBalloon
Paul Klee, Red Balloon (Roter Ballon), 1922.


i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)


-- e. e. cummings --

Insomnia

Ascent

Now you hear what the house has to say.
Pipes clanking, water running in the dark,
the mortgaged walls shifting in discomfort,
and voices mounting in an endless drone
of small complaints like the sounds of a family
that year by year you’ve learned how to ignore.

But now you must listen to the things you own,
all that you’ve worked for these past years,
the murmur of property, of things in disrepair,
the moving parts about to come undone,
and twisting in the sheets remember all
the faces you could not bring yourself to love.

How many voices have escaped you until now,
the venting furnace, the floorboards underfoot,
the steady accusations of the clock
numbering the minutes no one will mark.
The terrible clarity this moment brings,
the useless insight, the unbroken dark.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

On love

I enjoyed reading Mariana's post on what love is, tricky subject...

As popular wisdom goes, you've got to love yourself to be able to love and be loved. If, however, you're just not too keen on yourself, then - the irony of it! - you find yourself impermeable to love when you're most desperate for it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pollo alla Cacciatora... for JC



Ingredients

1 tablespoon garlic oil
1/2 cup pancetta cubes
6 scallions, finely sliced
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 pound chicken thigh fillets, each cut into 4 pieces
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 cup white wine
1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Directions

Put the garlic oil into a pan with the pancetta, sliced scallions and chopped rosemary and fry for a couple of minutes.

Add the bite-sized chicken pieces, stirring well, and sprinkle in the celery salt.

Pour in the wine and let it come to a bubble before adding the tomatoes, bay leaves and sugar. Put the lid on and let the pan simmer for 20 minutes.

Cook time:25 minutes.
Serves 4.

It's snowing!

it's snowing!

Therapy

Time to get the woolies out

weather

The kids are on their mid term holiday and there's lots of preparations under way for Hubby's birthday and for Halloween. We were thinking about going to Kent, to the Brogdale apple harvest festival and that lovely Windy Ridge b&b in Whitstable like we did three years ago but ended up deciding against it. Too much going on at the moment...

Nia is being admitted to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children on Thursday to undergo her bone marrow transplant. She'll be in complete isolation for 6 weeks and can't have any visitors. We're all keeping our fingers crossed everything will go well and that chance finally sides up with her so that by Christmas she'll be well set on the road to recovery. She's been through so much already and she's so frail and so brave... I struggle to make any sense out of life sometimes.

More warmth badly needed


IMG_1600, originally uploaded by europa70.

A steaming hot drink may be all it takes to see the world through rose-tinted glasses, psychologists have found.

Holding a warm cup of coffee was enough to make people think strangers were more welcoming and trustworthy, while a cold drink had the opposite effect, a study found.

The warmth of a drink also influenced whether people were more likely to be selfish or give to others, researchers report in the journal Science. A team led by John Bargh at the University of Colorado set about testing whether hot and iced drinks influenced perceptions of others after noting how frequently "warm" and "cold" are used to describe personalities.

In one test, 41 volunteers were asked to hold a cup of coffee while they took an escalator to a fourth-floor lab. Once there, they were asked to read about a fictional character and give their impression of them. The test was then repeated using an iced coffee drink.

The psychologists found the volunteers perceived the fictional strangers as significantly warmer characters after holding the hot drink. When ranked on a scale from one to seven, with one being cold and seven being warm, they rated people on average 11% warmer after holding the hot drink.

Scientists also checked whether temperature influenced people's own behaviour as well as their perception of others. They asked volunteers to pick up either a frozen or heated therapeutic pad used for sports injuries. After handling the pad for a few minutes, they were offered a drink for themselves, or a voucher to give to a friend. Those who handled the hot pads chose more often to give the voucher.


From the Guardian.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Nomadic living

A house on legs, designed by a group of Danish artists, has been strolling around Cambridgeshire.

WALKING HOUSE is a modular dwelling system that enables persons to live a peaceful nomadic life, moving slowly through the landscape or cityscape with minimal impact on the environment. It collects energy from its surroundings using solar cells and small windmills. There is a system for collecting rain water and a system for solar heated hot water. A small greenhouse unit can be added to the basic living module, to provide a substantial part of the food needed by the Inhabitants. A composting toilet system allows sewage produced by the inhabitants to be disposed of. A small wood burning stove could be added to provide CO2 neutral heating. WALKING HOUSE forms various sizes of communities or WALKING VILLAGES when more units are added together. WALKING HOUSE is not dependant on existing infrastructure like roads, but moves on all sorts of terrain.




Reminded me of the Hotel Everland concept.

everlandparis1

Absence

Chiaroscuro

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

-- W.S. Merwin --

May justice be done

ML Valencia 20060820

trial

And may you rest in peace, dear friend.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Our American Dream

Alvera Court
(click to enlarge)




View Larger Map

26 years on.
Beavercreek is unrecognizable in these You Tube videos.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Quote for today

Nostalgie

A pleasure is not full grown until it is remembered.

--C.S. Lewis

It's freezing outside...

freehands-leather-4_large

...so this should come in handy:
Freehands is a brilliant and stylish accessory for anyone wanting to use a mobile or camera on cold days without freezing their fingers off. Flip back caps to expose thumb and index fingers and then text, email, game and take photos while keeping warm. Magnets keep caps out of the way. Available in fleece, stratch or leather here.