you don"t need to save the crystal for a special day, even water tastes better in a "Fancy Glass"

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Oh Yeah!

I am just so happy today! Obama won SC primary in a landslide. On to Super Tuesday! I think Obama offers the best chance of hope and change for the USA. And I am whole-heartedly thrilled that he won today!!!!

A bunch of us will be watching the Super Tuesday Returns all the way over here in Japan.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

why I wish there were more hours in a day


I love life, really. So much opportunity, so many wonderful people, and interesting things to do. But there is just not enough time. About a year ago, I took the RBR Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain workshop. It was amazing. 5 days of drawing that was so much more than that. It woke up my thinking, and it really gave me confidence-- plus it was a ton of fun. Right after the class, maybe 2 weeks later, I did this drawing of my friend. It is still not quite finished, but it was so much fun. And considering that I was at the level of cartoon-ish-stick drawings before that time- WOW.

Sadly, I have not been keeping up with it. Book groups, writing groups, work, travel, freelance writing, work, friends, events, politics, and work... have kept this on the back back back burner.

In good news, the folks at RBR have started a little monthly gathering and online club of alumni from their 5 day drawing workshops. So at least maybe I can drop in to one of those and sketch a little with some other right-brainers.

But really, I would love to have 6 more hours in every day and one extra day a week...
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Friday, January 25, 2008

7 Random things about me! meme

I was tagged for a "Meme." It’s a “7 Random Things About Me."

Here are the rules: Link to the person who tagged you and post the rules on your blog.

rule: Share seven random and/or weird things about yourself.
rule: Tag seven people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
rule: Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

So, here we go.

1. I have a scissor thing... I don't know how it happens but I have way too many pairs of scissors in my life for any one human being. I seem to collect them like some crazy scissor magnet, and the weird thing is I don't truly know where most of them come from.

2. I like to stand in the shower for a long time with my hands folded behind my back and in the water. This is my normal stance for shower repose.

3. I don't like eggplant, except when it is pickled Japanese style in miso. other versions I really don't enjoy at all, cooked, grilled, etc. etc. NOT FOR ME.

4. I believe the only real flavor of poptarts is Brown Sugar Cinnamon. All others are something entirely different and cannot really be called poptarts.

5. I also, in addition to my scissor fetish have a thing about bags and notebooks. I own sooooo many bags, backpacks, etc. and yet always covet more of them and always want to buy a new bag when I am out, AND I love buying new notebooks for my writing. I am on a life long quest for the perfect notebooks. I love moleskins, but I like tons of other notebooks too. again, I have, probably a hundred or more notebooks in my life!

6. For me the perfect pen has as absolutely fine a point as is physically and technologically possible. My favorite for the last 2 years is this .028 point pen sold in Japan.

7. I Love Love Love Christmas. Especially traditional christmassy stuff. Love it! BUT I hate it when people decorate etc. too early. Christmas season starts with the day after Thanksgiving, and does not get into full swing until dec. 1. Period.

so that is some randomness about me... I am tagging the 4 founders of the group news blog, and my friend Terri Mac, and the lovely and energetic Adelle, American Goy,, Farmgirl, the chef at Moveablefeast, and finally Mr.OnoKineGrindz.
Hope to read all the randomness about them soon too!

Monday, January 21, 2008

morning cups of tea

I love the first cup of tea of the day, It is a gentle, tasty way to wake up my mind, warm myself and focus on the day that is beginning. I drink tea off and on throughout the day but the first cup is the magical one. Days that start with coffee at work instead of tea at home don't ever seem to have as solid a foundation.

My normal tea of choice is a good strong English breakfast. I like two cubes of sugar (we use unrefined pure cane sugar) and a lot of milk. My hubby who also like that first cup takes his with one sugar and just a breath of milk. I can't describe it exactly... But I really really look forward to that first sip of piping hot tea.

Some other family favorites on the tea front...

Hubby used to drink Earl Grey or Black Currant, Now he likes Lapsang Souchong a smoky Chinese tea.

Mom like Darjeeling, more floral. subtle, a golden color when brewed. She also LOVES the house blend at the Dorchester hotel in London. We visited there some 15 years ago and she still remembers that tea- (note to self--- must go back there for high tea again some day)

In the afternoon I sometimes enjoy a cup of earl grey. We serve an organic variety in my restaurant, or a spicy chai with loads of cardamom.

there are hundreds of kinds of tea and dozens of grades of tea in each variety. I have also learned to love green tea, especially after a traditional Japanese meal.

one of my favorite online tea shops is Adagio teas. They have great tea and tea gear.

A little more about ENGLISH BREAKFAST, the morning tea of choice...
from wikipedia English Breakfast Tea

English Breakfast tea is a black tea blend usually described as full-bodied, robust, and/or rich, and blended to go well with milk and sugar, in a style traditionally associated with a hearty English breakfast.

The black teas included in the blend vary, with Assam, Ceylon and Kenyan teas, and Keemun common. Common brands of English Breakfast tea include Twinings, Tetley, Taylor's of Harrogate, PG Tips, Stash Tea Company, Lipton, Celestial Seasonings, Ringtons Tea, Zesta and Dilmah.

origins; Accounts of its origins vary. Many attribute its origins to a man named Drysdale in Edinburgh: Over a hundred years ago in Scotland a man named Drysdale went into the specialty tea business within sight of the castle of Edinburgh and offered a tea called Breakfast.... "As of 1982 they still sell the only tea on the market called simply Breakfast and nothing more, probably reasoning that Scots ... at that time of day want to be told nothing more than which blend of teas makes a good eye-opener."

Another explanation of its origin cites a Journal of Commerce article which dates the blend to 1843 and a tea merchant named Richard Davies in New York City. Davies, an English immigrant, started with a base of Congou and added a bit of Pekoe and Pouchong. It sold for 50 cents a pound, and its success led to imitators, helping to popularize the name.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A day worth celebrating

really, who knew? 1/17 is Hot Buttered Rum Day? How wonderful is that, and what a perfectly freezing cold hot buttered rum weathered day it was in Tokyo on 1/17! Perfect climate for HBR!!!

according to Cocktail Times;

Hot Buttered Rum Day is officially celebrated on January 17th. The drink was popular in both England and America. It was particularly in the Northeast region of the United States as a cold cure up until the 19th century, while the English were drinking hot buttered ale in the 1600's. It was also known in America as 'Dutch Rum' at first and was one of the traditional drinks of the 'Knickerbockers', -- the New Yorkers of Dutch extraction, who heavily populated New York in the early 19th century.
So here's to Hot Toddies of all varieties!
and a link to a great Hot Buttered Rum recipe by Mrs. Robinson at the Group News Blog.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Photo from a friend

My writing teacher Angela sent me this photo. My writer's group that I lead is called the Tokyo Writer's Salon, so this was a cool find. I decided to write about this for a photo- writing assignment in my online class. *yes crazily enough I have one off line class, one online class, and my writers group.... need my head examined. But in reality each class moves slowly and just gives me some good ideas and starting points for morning writing before work...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

slow food

Last night a few folks met up for a slow food dinner in Nakameguro at Mother Esta. This is a great little restaurant that prides itself on local, seasonal, often (but not always) organic ingredients.

5 people came to the meeting, myself, my husband, Derek (a friend from and two lovely japanese ladies I had never met before. The food was great and the conversation interesting. I also got to borrow a good food politics book.

My hubby and I ordered;
a fried pumpkin and puff pastry appetizer
I had Lovely Koso Pork grilled and served simply with lemon and 3 kinds of salt
and we split a dessert of Strawberry chiffon cake. (strawberries are common here in Japan in dec. and jan?!)

looking forward to going out again next month with this new group and searching out other slow food locations.

Mother Esta
2-20-14 aobadai meguro

Monday, January 07, 2008


One of the best parts of my holiday time in Europe was spending time with my wonderful mother. She is great fun to travel with, and full of adventurous spirit. This shot is her with a Mozart street performer in Vienna. (she didn't know he was alive till I put money in his catch-cup and he started to move.

Anyway, It had been too too too long since I had seen mom, and we had a great time together. Doing stuff... but also just eating and drinking in cafes and walking around in the christmas markets.

lots of fun! (thanks for coming Mom)
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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

good luck pigs?

in my family, the new years tradition is Pork and Sauer Kraut- for good luck. I am half German 1/2 Welsh and now that I have visited germany I know where this tradition comes from. Another interesting holiday tradition in Germany and Austria appears to be the Good Luck Pig!

I saw these little guys everywhere. So, I needed to look up where this tradition comes from... and over on Yahoo Answers I found out about pigs and much more.

"In Germany the pig to symbolize good luck because it is entirely edible - from snout to foot. And we have those little pink pigs made out of marzipan with a penny in its snout...for good luck.

Chocolate plays its part at the New Year, symbolizing the rich and sweet hopes that the giver has for the recipient's year.

Nuts mark the turning of the year and often are given as the start of any new enterprise. The French give jars of cooked chestnuts in sweet syrup on New Year's Day.

Bread should be well-rounded - the way you want your year to be. "No long loaves, because they have ends where good luck might escape. The same goes for pasta: round, not straight.''

Greens and lentils represent money or coins and are thought to bring riches. Italians eat lentils with sausages, symbolizing money and the purse to hold it in. In much of the Orient, fish is eaten for prosperity, noodles for long life and rice for fertility.

Cabbage, even sauerkraut, is supposed to help cure `the morning after the night before' making it an ancient remedy for another famous New Year's Day tradition - hangovers."
So where ever you and what ever your tradition-- Happy New Year and best of luck for a fantastic 2008. Thanks for reading the Fancy Glass, I hope to learn more, post more, and especially cook more in coming new year.