Thursday, December 27, 2007

Vegetarian wannabe?

Oh-you-who-know-who-you-are had just recently decided to try her hand at being a vegetarian. That's great and all, but, I must say that Spain is not exactly the place to start. Put it this way . . . we went to a nice Catalan family's house for Christmas day, and ended up eating:
1) Appetizers: fuet (cured sausage), cansalada, pate, and tons of ham (dried, cured ham. Jamon Iberico, as it is REALLY called)
2) First course: the meat globs... I mean "balls"... in the soup
3) Second/Main course: chicken with prunes. Stewed beef. Botifarra (another sausage). Wild Boar.

Anyone else sensing a pattern? She can tell you all what she thought of it, but I have to say that wild boar (which had been cooking/stewing for 4 solid days to make it tender. Verdad de la buena.) is one of my favorite meats. But, all of the main course dishes were heavenly. The sweet mixing and melding of flavors and aromas. Sweet with salty, tangy with meaty... Beautiful. A wonderful concerto of flavors, while filling the air with joyous laughter and innumerable toasts. Let the wine flow freely, and keep the champagne coming! That's Spain for ya: meat and wine.

Monday, December 24, 2007

I can take 'em! Get the cookies...

"How many five year olds could you take in a fight?" 5, according to that quiz. Not too shabby. But, together with a good friend (who also scored 5... funny), I decided that we would make a good team: he could use brute force to entertain them while I run away and grab cookies... then, I'd run back, and subdue them with promises of crunchy chocolate chip cookies... well,a s soon as we can find chocolate chips, that is. Sorry Phil, you're on your own for a while! Bye!

Yes, I may not be able to take them on with physical strength, but times like that are when your mental, strategical abilities shine :) So, if you ever have a hoard of kindergarten kids bent on your blood, run like the wind, and look for that secret cache of cookies in the cupboard... That almost makes me want to go out and stock my pockets with cookies... Spanish 5-year olds are more spoiled, vicious, and bloodthirsty than any other ones I have ever met. But, I know that Danna, Sara, and Elia will all be darling little 5-year-olds :) hehe

Friday, December 21, 2007

Melancholy sky

After reading Sarah's poem today, I suddenly felt a passel of questions flood my mind. The poem read,

...melancholy sky...
by Sarah Headrick

the sky today is a sketch;
created with half-hearted strokes and
melancholy shades of gray.
i remember, once, when it had color,
its vast immenseness infused with
orange and red and yellow.
we tried to capture it in words,
but couldn’t.
we searched in vain for a rhyme
or a
but were simply stranded,
left with half-hearted strokes and
melancholy shades of gray,
and the thought that perhaps things would have been better
had we never seen the color at all.
then the sky would not seem quite so dismal,

and we would have saved a lot of tears;
tears we could have cried
for lost souls.

After reading this, I felt a myriad of thoughts and "what-if"s swarm into my mind. What if the world had no color? Would that ease the pain when something like this pops up?

When you know how magnificently radiant a landscape can be, but instead it is covered with an indescribable monotone hue of gray? If flowers never could show off their dazzling colors, would we feel so bad when summer ends and robs them of their vitality? Would that AP American History book, without all those colorful pictures, drag us further down into the pit of insanity without hope of redemption by means of vivid hints of color?

How important is color to me? To us? To the world?
What would it be like if we never knew it existed, and merely wandered around in a world of multicolored, and yet monotonous, gray? Could artists find their inspiration amidst the grays? Or do we need to full radiance of color and light to inform us of the existence of gray? Would Seattle look more, or less depressing when it rains? Well, here are my two-cents worth of questions and musings.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Blessing in Disguise?

Nothing tops off an extremely stressful week like a good, complete Internet breakdown. Thrilling, I assure all of you whom have never had to go through setting up a connection in Spain. They are neither helpful nor encouraging, and they make you have to pry little dribbles of information out of them, call by call. We ended up calling several times in a row, and connected with different people each time, just to see how different of a number they could give us.

Let's just say that I now find the "online" help section for the Internet providers as a cruel joke or a smack in the face. If my router has a red light flashing where it says "Internet" is is extremely unlikely that I'll be able to a) access your help section, or, if I somehow get there, b) find the right telephone numbers to call and the right people to pester before it flunks out on me again.

But, as Mom said--although I must admit here, that I think it was more of a diplomatic peace offering than personal conviction-- it was a blessing in disguise. How else could I have caught up with all my over-due Geometry homework, I ask you?

So now, I am good with Geometry, but the rest of it is screaming at me. We spent a very long, very stressful day that just leaves you raw emotionally. Now, how am I writing, this, you ask? Well, with a smile, 'please and thank you', and my fingers crossed real hard. I am no technological genius, but God blessed me today with the key to unlock it all. Praise the Lord for miracles! Seriously. You all know that I am usually cursing computers instead of healing them. :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Just out of curiosity

Another ortho appointment last night . . . and I believe that Gary Larson described any dentist (or ortho) visit very neatly:(Reproduced from Daily Box Calendar, 2007)

Enough said, I believe.

Monday, December 10, 2007

And a partridge in a pear tree?

When in London, I realized how truly close to Christmas we are (aka--it's after Thanksgiving, therefore pre-Christmas season is now official). The lights and decorations up everywhere we beautiful, and made it feel very, well, Christmassy (that and the cold . . . but that's beside the point).

Yesterday, we finally got a Christmas tree! Well, we did not exactly "get" a tree, because we already had the perfect candidate in our back yard:

Isn't it wonderful!? Yes, our very own lemon tree, all dressed up and ready to go. One of my good friends asked if they did not have REAL Christmas trees in Spain or something, but, although they do, we thought our little citrus-scented bush out in the back would do just fine :) It is sort of like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, although slightly fuller and verdant . . . and the cute little "rice lights" we decorated it with give off a very sweet, soft holiday feel to it all. That and the ceramic Moose ornament, as well as the beautiful lace snowflakes and the limpid angels floating amidst the foliage . . .

As I told my Dad, it feels like we live somewhere exotic, like a north-African country, where the tamarisk and the lemon tree grow . . . then I just smiled to myself and remembered what one of our guests told asked us as long time ago: "Well, don't they say that Africa starts below the Pyrenees?" An insult to most people, I just find it mildly entertaining, especially when it fits in so well with what I was musing about.

Friday, December 7, 2007

"Oh, I don't eat peas either"

More from my London Gazette, ;)

On Sunday, at the British Museum, we had tea. Most delightful. But, of course, the names of the teas were all fancy and undecipherable, so we asked our kindly waiter to explain:

Mom Vs Waiter, round 1:

"I was thinking of something with cloves in it . . ."
"Yes, cloves."
" . . . Cloves?"
"Yes. Cloves. Spice. Oh, how about a tea with lots of spice."
"Yes, kind of sweet?"
"Sweet! We can do sweet! The 'Rose of the Orient' is sweet. And the Lapsang Ceylon has spice."
"Oh, great! Is it good?"
"Ehh... *wrinkles his nose and makes a face (away from her, but he didn't realize that it was directly at me)*"
("Me: I guess not, *soft chuckle*")
Back to Mom:"Well then, what do you recommend?"
"Actually, I don't drink tea."

Enough said. It was hilarious. And no, he wasn't some foreigner, because he could lead on a perfectly normal conversation. Just don't ask him about teas. Irony in its purest form, seeing as we were having tea, at tea time, in the Tea House section of the restaurant...

Later that evening, we confused yet another waitress at the amazing pub we ate at. Basically,

Mom vs. Waitress, round 1
Waitress: "What would you like to drink?"
"Beer please."
"Any particular one?
"No, I'm not really sure about all the different kinds you have here in London."
"Ok then, how about something light"
[The conversation has been shortened because of an abundance of brand names, types, and "technical" terms that the author cannot remember, because she was too busy laughing when it all took place]
Mom: "So, what do you recommend? Not light."
"Actually, I don't drink beer."

So much for that...
And then, later, when Mom asked for the difference between the peas and the mushy peas (doesn't that just sound utterly unappealing? Mushy, of all adjectives), we got the now standard response, "Oh, I don't eat peas either, actually."

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Wickedly enjoyable

I've "been galindafied". Certainly. "It's Glinda. The Gaa is silent."

Hurrah! I can now officially say that I have seen Wicked! "I couldn't be happier. Simply, couldn't be happier . . ." I love London: the lights, the people, the action, all the different forms of entertainment, their style (I tried on two dresses, and both were darling, and FIT PERFECTLY! Now, when's the last time that a. anything fits me, or b. two in a row? Unfortunately, we had a plane to catch, and that took precedence) . . . But, I could not help but feel immensely privileged, blessed, and loved when we walked into the Apollo Victoria Theater on Monday night. The theater itself was a wonder, beautifully and ornately decorated, allowing one's imagination to transport them back to a time where people dressed up in elegant silks and furs to attend a play. The set for the play was incredibly intricate and well-done, and when the dragon came to life in the very beginning you could just feel the whole audience jump in their seats.

I had this huge smile on my face almost the entire time (there were times where the smile gave way to other expressions which reflected the character's own, and yet other times where the tears wouldn't stop coming, no matter how hard I tried not to ruin the heart-breaking silence with my extremely inelegant sniffles). I usually love to sing along, but in this case, although I knew the songs, knew the words, and had sung them a thousand times before, I let the actresses do their job. It was an amazing performance and their voices were too beautiful to describe with mere words.

I can now quote it, through and through, haven't stopped singing the extremely sticky songs, and find myself grinning at random times of day, thinking of something from the musical. It was worth it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Well, as I was browsing Michaela's blog (wonderful, by the way, great insight, and it always makes you feel like you were there), and saw the blog readability level, and decided to try it.

cash advance

Oh goodness, that's a little higher than I'd classify myself, but hey. Maybe I should tone it down a bit? Never! If I use a word that you don't know, and you end up learning a new word because of me, I'll be more than happy. Cheerio!

Eating Eggs with a Spoon

"Diary" entries from my trip to London, republished here for your entertainment.

We got in all right last night, despite the fact that everything around us food-wise closed after 7:30pm... We found a decent pizza place nearby, and I enjoyed all 6 slices of pepperoni (yes, 6 on the whole pizza... tsk tsk). Although, Mom and I are still wondering what it was that they flopped on hers... we were afraid to ask, afraid to imagine what animal it came from... But still, all was well in the world as we watched NCIS (TV) in English. It was a delightful surprise!

This morning's breakfast was er . . . interesting. I for one like my eggs to actually touch the pan before they're flopped on my plate. So, very kindly, we asked for another, that was "hard" this time. Well, it WAS hard . . . but I still doubt that it had touched the pan in any way. Usually, the egg-white has a welcomed golden glow to it. Not in this case. But still, I'm not one to complain. I did welcome the sausages wholeheartedly, got addicted to a rather unsavory (yet, addicting, as I said) HP sauce, and ended up eating my eggs with a spoon. How? Well, it becomes a necessity when your nice waitress decided to snatch up your plate, along with your fork, while you take a deep breath before plunging into the plate of eggs . . . So, being the flexible, adventurous soul that I am, I ate my Jell-O like eggs with a small spoon that had come with my tea (I was loath to use a knife for something so wiggly and jiggly as those eggs).

Later that afternoon, after I had filled that corner of my heart dedicated to Ancient Egypt to the brim, we meandered through the rest of the British museum (truth be told, we were lost, looking for an exit, and happened to stumble across random galleries we didn't even know existed. Wonderful :D). We saw all the highlights: the Rosetta Stone, the Assyrian Winged Bulls, the Easter Island statue (smaller than I had expected), the Lewis Chessmen (small, cute, and a rather inexplicable claim to fame, in my opinion), Lindow Man (talk about grotesque), etc. etc.

One of the items that struck my fancy were handle. We thought that these would make excellent tableware. Spike your meat with the handle, then aim your spoon at the jellified eggs for round two :) It all just these amazing spoons, with a delightful spike as afell into place with that morning's breakfast conversation and events. Ah, how Wonderful.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Chronicles of an Evil Empress

When searching for a title for this blog, a friend of mine suggested that I name it,

"The Chronicles of an Evil Empress."
Now, I personally believe that, if it wasn't for the whole, "World domination will signify the end of the world and the ascension to power of the Antichrist," I would make a pretty good ruler. Maybe not quite yet, but give me a few years. After all, just because you control the Earth doesn't necessarily mean that you do all of the work, right? Well, you certainly have to know enough about "How to Run the World, 101" to keep your subordinates from overthrowing you, but hey.

Over the years I have unified my efforts for world domination with many different types of people: extremely logical, extremely dreamy and slightly naive, brilliantly strategical, in favor of pacifist means, etc. And then, over the years as well, I've collected all these wonderful ideas and could shape them into a plan. But, the whole Antichrist thing comes to mind, and I quickly decide against it.

For those of you who know me and my past and present "true" self, you'll know that, when I was younger, I had a certain amount of innate criminal instinct: plans flashed into my mind about to raid a supermarket, escape with a minimum of injured (all of them merely stunned, of course, no blood involved, EVER), and exit, undetected by supermarket cameras (previously disabled) or traffic ones (I'd have someone on the inside, I guess). And, the funny thing is, with a few years of perfecting my techniques, plans, and instinct, I could have probably pulled it off.

Some of you will be reading this like, "Yeah, right. Not if you're the Annalisa I know." Well, the Annalisa you know went through many changes to come out as she did. I went through many phases, and was equally dedicated to all of them. Good thing I stopped my criminal instinct before it went haywire . . . So, regardless of the fact of exactly HOW I would achieve global domination, I would most likely succeed with the help of a few trusted allies.

After achieving this, I think I would make a good queen, and, as long as my subjects realize that their "rights" were no more than vague figments of their imagination, all would be well. I would definitely set myself up in a nifty little fortress, with air vents that are two small to crawl through, no big red buttons labeled "SELF-DESTRUCT", and, if necessary,"I will set it to activate when the counter reaches 117 and the hero is just putting his plan into operation." (Look at "100 things I'd do if I ever became an evil Overlord"). I would never sit around, wallowing in luxury and pampering myself with extravagantly exotic things while my people were starving--or even replete, for that matter. No, that has been the downfall of one too many leaders.

So, seeing as I have no real desire to become the Antichrist or use brute force and war to achieve my goals, let us just say that the world is safe . . . for now.

Thought patterns

Just the other day I discovered a whole new way of thinking: purely linear. Now, most people would categorize my thought pattern as "random", but I believe it to be perhaps even more logical than a more traditional pattern. For instance, while my comments (out loud) would picturesquely form more of a dotted line than a solid one. Think of a road: When there is a solid line, you can see all of it, follow all of it; but, when there is a dotted line, all that you see are fragments of that line.

However, I must confess that my mind does not even tend to follow a dotted line. It's more of a dotted line, with swirls, curved, and connecting dots in the apparently "empty" spaces in between. Fun Fun. The funnest part of all of this is meeting someone who either can follow your "jumps", or actually thinks in the same swirls and curls as my own mind. Interesting, oi?

So, back to where I started at the very beginning: experiencing purely, solid, linear thinking. Now, how did this ever come to be? Truth be told, it was due to an unexpected Ibuprofen overdose (my last ortho appointment left me in so much pain--and therefore, grumpy, by my family's definition--that my Mom gave me some Ibuprofen. What she didn't expect was that it was 3 times my normal dose.)

Not only could some "linear-thinking" friends of mine fully understand what I was thinking, when and why (which was, to say the least, creepy), but also could guess both my next thoughts, and I theirs. I decided that being random and unexpected was far more fun.

Thinking in a solid line, however, did not slow me down--or reduce my ability to multi-task. In fact, just because I was thinking in a line did not mean it was just ONE line. No! I was operating on multiple lines at a time, and kind of jeopardizing my otherwise completely linear afternoon.

I guess I just cannot help being slightly random, even when drug overdoses dictate otherwise. :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tottering Terrapins--the beginning

Hello, and welcome to all!
For personal reasons that I do not yet fully understand myself, I have decided to start a blog. Anyone who knows me knows how utterly unlikely it usually is for me to keep up with any form of journal, but let us hope that this one will outlast all the others.

For starters, the name. Tottering Terrapins. Now, if any of you do not really understand what a terrapin is, I'd suggest using that good old, reliable dictionary and looking it up. Or, I could just tell you. A terrapin is a turtle. Now, I stumbled across this fascinating word while on the Free Rice web site, and it would not leave my mind. So, as to entertain myself while supposedly doing my Geometry work, I started playing around with word combinations. Tottering terrapins suddenly sprang into my mind and made it clear that I was to start a blog with all of my daily experiences, thoughts, and curiosities.

Hopefully, I will describe all of the wonderfully random rantings that my mind comes across in posts to come. But, for now, I wish you all a good day.