- road conditions (or lack of road)
- traffic (watch out for the buses and taxis especially)
- pedestrians (standing on the white line is a safety zone - you may not be able to see me, but you can't touch me if I'm standing here!)
- unmarked road repairs (traffic cones don't exist - road repairs are usually marked with a pile of rocks right in the road)
- broken down cars (repairs are done where ever the car breaks down. If the driver gets a flat in the middle lane, that's where he'll stop and make the repair)
- and poor lighting.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Indeed, one of those holes claimed Maiya's right Teva flip flop. It was dark and we were walking back to the appartment from a good, Euro0-style (with prices to match) pizza place. The sidewalk was dark and the random holes only shades darker or lighter, depending on the random headlights of oncoming traffic. Maiya skipped, stumbled a bit and then cried out, standing on one foot, that her shoe was gone. She cried. I gave her a piggy-back ride back home. MeiLin plotted how we might come back with a flashlight or in the morning to rescue the shoe. Maiya wimpered again for her shoe. I stated uncategorically that the shoe was gone, not to be retrieved three feet down in raw sewage, and that a shoe was minor -- it could have been Maiya's foot or whole leg. MeiLin continued to plot retrievals for days as we passed the area in cars or taxis. Maiya gained a new pair of local, harder plastic flip flops. And, I placed the order online for a new pair of Tevas.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
The aquarium at the Baltimore Inner Harbor was the first choice but a quick check online showed sold-out conditions on that attraction. So, I opted for a trip out to Front Royal, VA and the Skyline Caverns.
As expected, the girls were more fascinated by (1) the dirt on the floor of the cave and the cool sounds you can make when you drag your feet; (2) the ginormous gift shop complete with rude-humor bumperstickers, cheap toys and t-shirts; (3) lunch; (4) the Dragon Maze at the cave; (5) and the dinosaur statue in the park. Ah well, I guess at some point they'll begin to appreciate the things that parents expect them to. But then again, maybe we parents miss too much because we don't go and ride the dinosaurs.
Today is another beautiful day. Maybe we'll take the girls to the park and climb some trees and then go for ice cream. Simple. My new motto: ride dinosaurs.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Spring blasted in on us with a week of sun and warmth and then crept back to its more normal rainy self this week. The rain suits me today as we enter Passion Week before Resurrection Sunday. I grew up saying "Easter," but my short trip to Uganda taught me this new term: Resurrection Sunday.
I had forgotten until yesterday in church as a lady came in a bit late and sat next to me. She was suffering from allergies even more than I was with tissues and an inhaler and a process of excusing herself every now and then to go outside and blow her nose more loudly. After she sat down, as the kids started a processional in the aisles with their palms waving, she asked me
"Is this Resurrection Sunday?"
"No, Palm Sunday."
Easter, for those who want to know, comes from Middle English which itself comes from Old English and then goes back to Germanic Ostern, which surprising (or not?) is the name of a goddess and her festival, derived from the cardinal point east. What? I think I will use Resurrection Sunday from here out. It is obvious, in-your-face, blunt, which explains why Americans don't use the term much. Being obvious about faith isn't in favor.
Even though it is still Lent, I have been researching breads and other goodies traditionally served on Resurrection Sunday and that has made me hungry. Yesterday we made petit fours for the egg hunt at church (eggs = new life, no bunnies needed). I had leftover sponge cake cubes from that effort sitting in the fridge this morning. I had read somewhere that leftover cake could be used for bread pudding. A revelation - cake is rich bread, right? I freaked out momentarily when the cubes dissolved quicker in the custard base, but then calmed down when I saw how it all baked together. It's Monday, but Sunday is coming.
Sponge Cake Pudding
Leftover cake cubes, 4 cups (mine were roughly 1.5 inch squares--I would say 1/3 of a 9 x 13 sheet cake)
Friday, February 5, 2010
"Is it safe?"
"Aren't you worried about the girls?"
Last weekend the girls and I played out in the snow for a couple of hours. MeiLin, ever the project and goal-oriented girl, set her heart on building an igloo with these great, plastic block-scoops. You scoop up the snow, pack it in and turn the form upside to create perfect snow blocks. Maiya spent most of her time sitting in the igloo while MeiLin and I built--MeiLin is her father's daughter.
The snow was light and fluffy, fragile. Over an hour, we were able to build a tenuous tower of snow, ever taller, eventually topping even my six-foot height. The girls, of course, were ready to spend the night in their new igloo, build more, add a roof, attic, windows, doors. Problem was, we built it in the road.
"Is it safe?"
"Aren't you worried about the girls?"
I don't know. We think we're safe in our neighborhood, safe enough to play in the snow in the middle of the street. Safe enough to walk to school. Safe enough to drive around town. Safe enough to bike to work. Everyday we buy into this false sense of control and security. I convince myself that nothing is going to happen, that I can control the outcome of today because of the choices I make.
Put on your seat belt, and you're safe. Wash your hands, and you're safe. Look both ways before you cross, and you're safe.
Trouble is, the world around us, the daily news bear witness to the light, fluffy and fragile igloo of our daily lives. Earthquakes. House fires. Accidents. Sickness. Tragedy. The violence of man. The igloo eventually melts. The walls slowly collapse and the igloo disappears. "For what is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."
Our igloo? It lasted a lot longer than I thought it would, considering its location. I gotta tell you, as a guy, it's awfully tempting to blast through it when you're driving the car. But, surprisingly, no one did. The igloo slowly twisted and collapsed part way, still standing, struggling to hold on to its form. It eventually disappeared into the snow bank on the side of the road.
It's snowing again, and this weekend promises a snow storm of historic proportions, possibly the biggest in the Washington DC region. Time to build another igloo, even if we know it will just disappear. "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this..."
Monday, January 18, 2010
- Preheat over to 350F.
- Grease a medium (8 x 4) baking pan. I use Pam.
- In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together and ad the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in the banana puree.
- In a second medium bowl, mix the flour, seeds, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt with a whisk until combined.
- Using a rubber spatula, mix in 2/3 of the flour mixture into the butter mixture then once combined, add the remainder of the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix or the bread will be tough.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes--until firm on top (not jiggly). Cool on a rack for five minutes in the pan and then turn out and finish cooling.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is making and consuming natalizia, a fabulous Italian bread similar to, but not quite as adorned as, panettone. I call this a tradition because I have been making it for approximately 10 years, ever since I found a obscure cookbook Celebrating Italy by Carol Field. Field provides a wonderful history of tiny hamlets and feast days along with seemingly well-researched and old recipes (I mean old as in back to the Roman period). She spend a good portion of the Natale section on the pandolce, panettone and natalizia Christmas breads. It takes me all day to make 2 tall domed natalizia and the time is worth it. This bread is airy, eggy and when sliced thin, toasted and slathered with butter is the most delicious thing I know. Sorry if I am drooling.