Archive for August, 2011

2011, August 31

Accompany me to the Citadel?

I enjoyed your company so much during my walks around Taormina and Paris over at Milliver’s Travels, that today I’ll provide you with a glimpse of where I live.

So, want to accompany me on the walk I took one afternoon a few weeks ago, to the Citadel (or more commonly known as Fortress Hill) in Kolozsvár, Románia? Let’s go :)

2011, August 29

Good Deeds & Grand Gestures

“People do good deeds for many reasons, but sometimes good deeds have bad consequences. Correcting a colleague’s mistake could breed resentment. Opening one’s home to a friend can damage that friendship. Trying to bring a spouse closer might push her further away. That’s why there’s an old expression about helping people – No good deed goes unpunished.

Good deeds aren’t always done for the purest of reasons. We may be trying to impress. We may be acting out of guilt. We may be expecting something in return, but occasionally a good deed comes straight from the heart.”

This is the quote that kept popping up in my mind as I thought of grand gestures lately.

August was the month of grand gestures in the Plan for j’s Love Project. “To be honest, I don’t know exactly what I mean by that, but I think it’s about leaping when you’re scared, loving big, loving more, showing your heart in spectacularly real and enormous ways. I think it’s whatever you say it is, because not everyone’s “grand” looks the same, and thank goodness for that.” j herself said that (this is still her definition now, further elaborated). And I tend to agree.

A grand gesture. I think it’s about doing simple (or sometimes even seemingly small) things like:
Giving my heart even though I knew it will get broken.
Sharing and possibly helping other writers with my guest post.
Helping until my hands hurt and even beyond so everything will get done – then doing the dishes too afterwards.
Not moving for an hour and a half because my cat is finally asleep in my lap.
Going out (when I’d rather stay at home) to take the cat to the vet, and then to keep my friend company.
Walking all over town to find an African Violet just like mine that my grandmother loves the color of so much.
Going to the Torda Salt Mine with my mom to make sure she does something fun too during her holiday.
Traveling to Bonchida to watch a friend dance on stage at the Castle Days Festival event (and to make sure my mom goes on another little trip). 
(Offering to, and) Photographing a father hugging his daughter in her wheelchair so they’d have a picture where they are together.
Taking pictures of someone whose camera was broken so he’d have a few moments of his visit to Romania captured on film. And keeping him company that day, because he was alone on a long trip away from home (Canada).
Offering a gift certificate I won to a friend who was able to use it so much better than I would’ve been able to.
Sending pics to friends along with hugs and kisses, just because I thought of them.   

Something done straight from the heart.
I think many things qualify as grand gestures if we keep that in consideration.

2011, August 26

Overwriting memories – by Estrella Azul

They were admiring the view as he leaned in to kiss her.

She was delighted with traveling to Paris. It was her favorite city in the world. The one she had been so happy in.

Now however, she was overwriting past memories while he charmed his new bride. Overwriting distant memories as the two of them strolled down cobblestone streets and dined in romantic restaurants. Overwriting cherished memories as they criss-crossed the Seine River and visited attractions, as they watched the city turn more magical with every second that passed.
She loved her groom more than life itself.

Obliviously, he kissed her forehead and glanced over the city again, after she graciously eluded his kiss; embracing him so strongly as she never had before, kissing him on the cheek.

There was one memory she could not overwrite.
There was only one kiss she desired to recall on top of the Eiffel Tower.

2011, August 24

Tiling a countertop

When we were buying the material for our new counter we had to consider the financial aspect as well. We decided to buy laminated plywood only for the exterior (doors and the two sides), and simple sanded plywood for the back, top and bottom, as for the shelves. This choice was much more cost-efficient and gave me the option to tile my own countertop rather than have a boring “wood” finish.

Here’s how I did it :)

page tiling countertop

page tiled countertop

Tiling a countertop

tiles
mounting adhesive
grout gun
small amount of tiling grout
grout scraper

*it’s most cost-efficient if you buy second hand tiles; or from a construction site (friends who are renovating, etc.) you might even be able to get tile pieces for free which you can then make a puzzle-style countertop with*

Lay the tiles onto your countertop to check how well they’ll fit.

Work turning over a couple of tiles at a time and start mounting them onto the countertop, using your mounting adhesive, as close to each other as possible.

Let it set for a little while (the kind I used dried in ten minutes so be careful, you won’t have much time to correct mistakes if you happen to mount a piece incorrectly).

Prepare a small amount of tiling grout in a recipient, and with a grout scraper (I used an ice cream stick) start filling the gaps between the tiles. Add a generous amount until the gaps are filled well, don’t worry about making a mess, it will come off the tiles.

Leave it all to set and return about 10-15 minutes later with a moist cloth to clean off the excess tiling grout from the tiles themselves. Go over it again with a dry cloth.

Since it’s not a large amount of tiling grout, it will set quickly and you’ll be able to use your new countertop in a couple of hours.

PS: all the way in the background you can see my highly practical shelves ;)

2011, August 21

Recipe of the month: No-bake Yogurt Cake

It’s the middle of August. It’s warm. Very much so! Here’s a no-bake cake for those days when turning on the oven just isn’t appealing. Plus, it’s absolutely delicious!

page no-bake yogurt cake

No-bake Yogurt Cake

300 ml fruity yogurt (I used peach yogurt)
500 ml cream
2 tablespoons gelatin
sponge cake
1 dl water
fruits same as/close to the yogurt flavor (I used nectarines)

Stir the gelatin in 1 dl cold water. Leave aside for a few minutes to become a hard jello.

Gently stir the yogurt and the fruit (chopped up) into the cream and mix it for about a minute on “low”.

Melt the jello (don’t boil!) over steam-bath. Then add it into the yogurt, fruit and cream mixture. 

Add readily-bought sponge cake into a baking pan (or leave it in the pan if you baked one), soften the sponge cake with a sweet syrup, then fill up the pan with the ready yogurt mixture.

Refrigerate well right until before serving!

2011, August 19

You never said – by Estrella Azul

You said
you knew
I was the one.
You said
you were sure
I was incomparable.
You said
you wished
I never left.
You said
you thought
I would go back.

You never said stay,
you never asked
Me to return

IMG_1253-1

2011, August 17

Just like people

Cats are strong, independent. And while it’s true, not all cats are alike and some of them are much more needy than others – they’re much more independent than dogs are anyway.

I have three cats. They’re mostly outside during warm summer days and sometimes I only see them around lunch time – independent or not, why not take advantage of the “drive in”. They bring home winged or furry little “presents”. They “help” clean up and redecorate. During winter, they like to take over my bed and sleep all day.

All three have different personalities. Mili and Maci are more needy, they like being played with at any given time.

IMG_0535 Onyx on the other hand… he’s more distant. He finds impossible places to have his naps. He doesn’t normally like to be held for longer than two seconds and will fight me to get away. He’s only affectionate on his own terms (fact which actually resembles a lot of men, but that’s a different story). It’s always a surprise when he feels like curling up next to me, and I could almost declare it a national holiday when he wants to be pet and sleep in my lap.

He seems as if he’d be perfectly fine with having no owners.

Yesterday, Onyx somehow managed to get his fur all sticky as he tried to un-stick the mouse off of this glue-mouse-trap thingy. How he reached it is beyond me, but he was all sticky and struggled to get it off by pulling out his fur. I’m sure it hurt (we had an appointment at the vet’s and he got his paw and chest shaved this afternoon).

Last night and today, Onyx was very much affectionate. He followed me around, slept (tried to clean himself) next to me and eventually crawled onto my lap and got some sleep. I went numb from not moving for an hour and a half, but am not complaining.

Right now as I type this, the effects of his anesthetic are wearing off – so naturally, we just had to pull him out of the toilet… That’s what we get for thinking he’d be okay if left alone for a few minutes.

It’s easy to characterize cats as being tough, ruthless with their prey and independent. It’s easy to look at appearances.

However, cats – despite the exterior, despite what we assume – (just like it is with people) sometimes need a hug, a kind word, a kiss, a pat on the back to know that everything’s going to be alright.

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