Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Not Completely Frozen Yet

Since my last post the time has passed in a blink of an eye. I was hit by the train at full speed, or so it felt, and I'm still gasping for air. Everything happened so quickly and I found myself in a completely new work environment, with new people and new challenges. This was what I wanted for a long time but when I finally got there it was like I wasn't ready for it. I started to feel some kind of weird resistance in my gut and my whole body turned against this "newness". I'll be honest with you, I never ever felt something like this, I was always up for a challenge. In fact, earlier in my life, any challenge would give me strength and motivation to fight and to work hard in order to achieve my goal. This time was very different. It was almost like I had enough of challenges in my life, I couldn't take it any more. Completely new experience...
Four weeks later, things are going better but I still can't get rid of this weird feeling. It may sound weird to you, but I rarely did things for myself, because I wanted it for ME - it was usually for my family, for my children or for any other reason. This last decision was not different. And this is exactly the thing I have to change, the time has come. Happily, I'll have ten days off for Christmas. Enough time to think things through but also to enjoy beautiful white Christmas in the city of Quebec...


Thursday, November 4, 2010

About Those Lemons Life Gave Me

Well, I must say, I had my share of lemons and I haven't always been able to make lemonade from them. But I surely learned quickly enough that you have to deal with the cards you are dealt. Or, as someone said : "It is not the cards you are dealt, but is how you play them." You can sit and complain about it and wait for change to happen, eventually. Or you can grab the bull by the horns and make something out of it, sometimes even make the best of it. And I sat and cried, believe me, often enough. And I complained about injustice and bad luck. It didn't change a thing. So I wiped my tears, analyzed my options, took a best guess and acted upon it. Oh, yes, it's infinitely easier not to move at all and to let yourself drown in self pity. But it is also a spiral staircase down to not worthy existence. The choice is always yours and you always have one.
Image source : Etsy
In the last 12 months or so, my life changed drastically after leaving a job that made me totally unhappy. It was as if the ground under my feet disappeared. I was standing on the crossroads with no signposts. I was looking for directions and I found them not outside, but inside of me. The long road took me on the journey to a completely new territory. I lowered my expectations towards myself (I'm so happy about it now), I got a new diploma (I'm so happy about it now too), I sent my new resume to places I wanted to work for (boy, am I happy about this one now!) and I didn't know until recently if I did the right thing or not. It turns out, I passed all the exams for all the jobs I wanted and now I get to choose the place I would like to work for. My head is spinning like crazy in the last 2 weeks, I can't believe that this is happening to ME!  I finally get to drink that lemonade I made from all those lemons life gave me...


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Where I'm Coming From

I have been blogging since last September more or less regularly (hey, I forgot the first blogoversary!). My preoccupations changed from one post to another but one thing keeps bothering me throughout this experience. I feel like I'm keeping a very big secret from you. Actually, I am. I did mention little things here and there but I never gave you the whole picture. I'm talking about my "Forrest Gump" life experience. I think I'm ready now to let you know more about me and my family.
 My fellow blogger Zhu made a nice interview with me some time ago and so, instead of writing everything once again here, I invite you to go over to her wonderful blog and read her post.

P.S. Sherri, I didn't ask for permission to use your image, hope you're ok with it. I simply couldn't resist, it reminded me of things my mother used to make when she was young.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Time Is Flying Faster Than Ever

Apparently, I'm not the only one thinking about time, I just joined the whole humanity. Seriously, there is so much written about it out there that my head started spinning from all the theories. Is there an absolute truth about this phenomenon? I seriously doubt it. What initiated my curiosity is this very strong feeling I have as of lately that time is just rushing by, not measured by hours and days any more but rather by years and decades. Suddenly, it's like the countdown started going backwards to an unknown last number. I don't like this feeling, it's weighing me down, paralyzing my dreams. I'm constantly questioning myself about the sense of everything I do. I've got to engage in something creatively productive, I need to start making things with my hands, transforming a raw material in something useful -  my office job just doesn't cut it any more.
Enough of being smart and philosophical! Autumn is coming slowly and it's beautiful. Definitely my season of choice here in Canada. I love everything about it : colors, light, temperature, smell of fallen leaves and rain - yes, especially rain. I think I'll go out and finally buy a pair of rubber boots for myself. And if I was courageous enough it would be those, with a matching umbrella. I love to jump from one puddle to another, going trough the leaves gathered by the wind...
I didn't make my last flower arrangement of the season yet, but I think I've got my last tomatoes and peppers...
My office moved last week to another building, much closer to my house. We were packing for weeks and moving trough the mountains of boxes trying to follow the normal work routine. This week, the first in the new place, everyone was looking for something, many things got yet to be organized and installed. Today I was told that we have to be patient for the next 10 to 15 days. No problem! Patience is my middle name.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

With a Little Help From My Friends

Thank you Sherri  for remembering me in your prayers, I think it worked. I felt your virtual hug and I thank you for that. Thank you too, Zhu, my fellow blogger, for being there for me.
Strangely enough, the day after my last blog post, I got to pick up my computer. Finally! They changed the motherboard and the CPU but luckily  my data were intact. My little corner of the world is OK again, at least the virtual one. Thank you, thank you, thank you...
The other thing I'm thankful for is my new job. I landed in a small team of very nice people and although I've joined them in the most stressful period of the year, they never forget to let me feel welcome, accepted and appreciated. I was particularly satisfied (and proud !) today, after my boss gave the press conference this morning and I got to see my work on the TV tonight. How cool is that?!
I know my compass was often demagnetized lately and I didn't see the direction clearly. I wasn't living by numbers anyway, so anything is possible. I don't feel the road under my feet right now, it's more like I'm going over the river by walking from one stone to another, setting my foot carefully, trying not to fall into the cold water. I now I can make it...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Here is the deal...

...I'm offering you the following: 
  • washer and dryer
  • dishwasher
  • swimming pool
  • my husband
But, please, please, give me back MY COMPUTER!!! I need it so bad! I can't even start to tell you the (horor) story about the reparation of my computer, I'd rather wait to have it (him?!) back in my arms...  After I've lost my computer everything else crushed down: my husband's laptop and even the Internet connexion... The laptop was reestablished yesterday and today the Internet came back, after a hefty fight with the provider. And here I am writing on my blog and trying not to sound too frustrated.
Nothing is going so smoothly lately, I'm having a bumpy ride - but, hey, what else is new? 
And then there was  this special and sad day last week: my sister's first birthday in heaven. I miss her so much...if only I could just call her and talk to her for hours about everything and nothing...happy birthday sis, wherever you are.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Owning My Time

Why is it we don't appreciate what we have until it's gone? Like some people around us, time for ourselves or youth? Sigh, don't let me even started on the last one...
Today I wanted to share with you a wonderful article written by Mary Schmich for Chicago Tribune in June 1997. I wish I new some (or all!) of this things when I was 20 year old!
 Never to late to learn some things, though...here it goes:

"Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young
Inside every adult lurks a graduation speaker dying to get out, some world-weary pundit eager to pontificate on life to young people who'd rather be Rollerblading. Most of us, alas, will never be invited to sow our words of wisdom among an audience of caps and gowns, but there's no reason we can't entertain ourselves by composing a Guide to Life for Graduates.

I encourage anyone over 26 to try this and thank you for indulging my attempt.Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97:

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen."

Send this to EVERY young women you know, they'll  thank you one day.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Seeing Behind the Clouds

The sunlight was bursting in trough the big corner windows of my new office this morning. The construction site on the opposite side of the street was already  alive and busy. Lime green accordion buses were rushing by... I was standing there immersed in this magic moment of light and color. I need a dose of simple beauty in my life every day, little things that cost nothing at all and make me very happy. I've missed so many beautiful moments like this working for 9 years in the office without windows.

Later in the day I was resting my eyes on the little sparkling white clouds chasing one another over the clear blue sky. How many amazing things we don't see around us even with our eyes open? Nature, people, events, good, bad, joy, effort, calm, love, sadness, need...some of this things may never happen again if we do not stop and acknowledge them.

The city we live in is one of those things we take for granted and forget to rediscover over and over. We have our little paths, our grocery stores, work places, schools and gyms and that's about it. Sometimes we visit a park or a theater, eat in a new restaurant. To see your city trough the eyes of a tourist visiting for a first time could put the city you know in  an entirely different perspective.

There are so many things I didn't see yet in my city. My husband and I went two weeks ago to see the Promenade Samuel-De Champlain inaugurated in 2008 for the 400th anniversary of the Quebec City. Here are some of the pictures I took:


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me !

One thing is clear: a normal person wouldn't jump for joy seeing so many candles on the cake. There, I said it! But I started to see things differently several years ago when my good friend lost her husband suddenly. He was just about my age. Ever since then I have been seeing my birthdays differently. Each year on my birthday I think to myself: “He hasn't  had a chance to be my age.” Those moments make me feel very grateful and I appreciate life even more knowing that every moment of it is a gift. And everything that happened to me, good and bad, is a gift too. This is my life and I finally am able to embrace it in it's greatness. No, I'm not getting all spiritual on you, but there was a moment (or two) when I refused to accept that this is my life - because I had it planned differently long time ago. George Bernard Shaw said: “Forget about likes and dislikes. They are of no consequence. Just do what must be done. This may not be happiness but it is greatness.” Story of my life.
Finally, of what importance is the number of years, it's just a number. It's what you pack inside those years that counts. Let me tell you one thing:  I've got enough material for two or maybe even three lives. It's not that I have chosen to do so, life simply happened to me. And love. And pain. And joy. And change. And disappointment. And happiness. Life is the greatest teacher. And love is the greatest gift. I'm fortunate enough to have three loves of my life. I just spoke to one of them, he called me from England to wish me happy birthday. I miss him very much. The other is arriving any moment from Montreal to celebrate with me. I can't wait. And the one who was there first, responded to my question: "Do you think you can still be romantic?" with these:


Monday, August 2, 2010

Good News / Bad News

The worst news first: my computer is dead. I'm writing this post on my DH's (very slow) laptop. One week ago, I found my computer with the dreaded "blue screen of death" but I was able to resuscitate it. The same happened a couple more times in the last week but then suddenly nothing, it wouldn't boot at all, I could only see the "No signal" message on my screen. My computer was rather new, fast and reliable, that's the reason why I didn't make any backup yet. Everything is on it: personal documents, family pictures from the last decade, tons of things I love...how can one be so stupid? There is a saying in French: "Il ne faut pas mettre tous les œufs dans le même panier." I think it's the same in English: "Don't Put All Your Eggs In One Basket". Well, I did. Luckily, I had purchased an additional two year warranty  for peanuts (my son would call me stupid if he new, he worked in this business). I’m not a big believer in buying extended warranties, so I usually pass whenever I’m asked, but boy was I happy I didn't this time!
I already knew how much I depend on my computer to do everything, but I didn't know I would panic this much just thinking I could loose it! It's ridiculous, I was feeling as if I was missing an arm... I'm telling you, go ahead, help yourself and take my washer and dryer, my dishwasher, my vacuum cleaner - I'll do anything by hand - but, please, please, pretty please: leave my computer and my Internet alone! And I wasn't even born in the new tech generation...
Anyway, I brought my computer yesterday to the repair service. The young man there must have thought I was crazy but he was very patient with me. And here is the good news about the bad news: as he finally checked the hard drive, he found that all the data are there and can be saved! The problem is apparently with the hardware. Just to be sure, I took the option to transfer my data on the external hard drive before repairing anything. Phew!
I'll have my data probably tomorrow but the repair of my computer could take up to two weeks. I'm patient.
And I saved the best for last: I finally got a job I wanted! Phew - again! I started last week, I'll tell you more about it soon.


Monday, July 26, 2010

My Magic Shoes

They're not red and they're not new. The story about these shoes goes back all the way to 1992. It was the first pair of shoes I bought upon arriving in Munich, Germany. I needed something very comfortable for long walks. This pair of Rieker shoes was just incredibly comfortable, very flexible, made from soft hazelnut brown leather with a buckle on the side. Not my style at all, but, although normally rather expensive,  they were reduced by 70% because one buckle was detached. I new I could sew it back on so I bought them. They served me well, my feet were very happy and light in them and they took me places...
When we left Germany for Canada  in 1998, I must have thrown them in one of the bags and so they moved to another continent with me. I wore them a couple more times but soon they started looking old and really worn out. Somehow I couldn't bring myself to throw them away and so they lived on quietly in a dark corner of my entry closet.
Then one day I was reading an article on FlyLady about effective house cleaning and she said you should put your shoes on  when doing chores. This tip really picked my curiosity and I wanted to try this method and see if it makes a difference. When I started looking for a pair of shoes to use I found my old, comfortable Riekers again. And it made a difference. I felt more stable, I was stronger and faster. From then on, I didn't put my old shoes on every time I had to clean but I thought of them when I had an incredible amount of things to do at home and very little time. I was always under the impression that, with these shoes on, I was able to accomplish such an amount of chores in very little time that I myself was in awe... I started to call them "My Magic Shoes". Soon my husband started to notice the ginormous positive effect of these old shoes on my speed and my mood. He loved the change so much that he himself suggested often: "Why don't you put those magic shoes of yours on?" 

 I can't believe I have an 18-year-old pair of shoes that I still use! They're barely holding together, but I'm pretty sure that they can't be easily replaced by any pair of shoes - they must be very special. They are my very special old magic shoes.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Back In Bloggerland

So sorry for the break in posts...I missed you all so much! I've been lacking inspiration a bit (not only for my blog posts...) and I've been in a sort of a dormant blog phase for months. I figured the last thing you need is to come over here only to pick up on my low vibe. Not only did I desert my own blog, I didn't follow yours neither. But today, just moments ago, it was as if someone pushed a secret (red, please!) button, and I woke up. So here I am and I hope you'll forgive me this little unintentional black hole of mine...
Many things happened: spring, flowers in garden, my diploma (finally),  job searching, swimming pool season, patio, extreme heat for weeks...
So, for today, I wanted to give you a sign of life and to share some nice pictures I've taken recently. I have to go now, I have to catch up on my blog reading, my Google Reader is bursting out of seams...


Monday, April 12, 2010

Message From the Past

What a lovely surprise! As I was organizing my stuff in my sewing room I found a lovely message written probably more than a decade ago. It was engraved carefully in a piece of red tailor's chalk with child's hand.
This is one side of the chalk:
And here is the surprise on the other side:
I can't believe I never saw it before! I was moved to tears (but than again, this happens fairly easy in my case). Just lovely! I'm almost certain that it was my daughter who did this as she loved playing by my side while I was sewing. This little discovery made me happy instantly and put a permanent smile on my face...


Friday, April 9, 2010

Life is Happening...

...while I'm living in a bubble. I don't know what it looks like on the outside. Pictures and sounds are passing by in slow motion. I feel good. I'm calm, I have time for everything but I do almost nothing. This is an incredible gift - having time. And I'm finally enjoying it.  But I'm also well aware of the fact that my bubble could pop very soon.
Photo credit: Reini68 on flickr
So what am I doing right now? I have only one exam left before finally having my diploma. I'm invited to pass an exam for a job I'm very interested in. Other than that, I cook, I sew a little, I read and I observe young plants popping out in my garden.
Tell you one thing: I can't wait to start working again! I seriously need this somewhat imposed rhythm in order to better structure my life around it. I can't believe I just said that! 
Anyway, thank you for being patient with me and have a beautiful spring!


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Salvation Art - part three

There is nothing exciting going on in my life this days except for the exams. I had my French exam last Monday. I know you're tired of me saying that I didn't do well and then having an excellent note, but this time I really wasn't great. For the first part, I didn't have enough time to complete the last document, I only started to write it. I've lost lots of time with my first because I couldn't concentrate at all in the beginning. I wrote the second one stressed knowing that I'm not going to be able to complete the last document. And then in the second part, I was shocked by the kind of text they presented us with - nothing to do with the domain - but I tried to do my best. Anyway, this time I'll be very pleased only to pass the exam...
Back to the art! I continue to present the pieces of my "Salvation Art" collection. Click on the link to learn more if you hadn't read my first post about it. Today's print was one of the first pieces I found in Quebec approximately ten years ago.
Sorry for the picture quality and the reflection - the light was not so great. I loved this print immediately: colors of the fire of creation; organic, almost living, interweaving lines...and then their resemblance to the symbol for eternity and infinity. This print hangs in my dining room along with two others.
The signature reads: "F. W. Reiter" and on the back there is a label with the following text : "No. Reiter New Abstract, Montreal, Canada". Underneath the damaged paper cover on the back is a text written by hand: "Show VXK4". I don't remember how much I paid for it but it must have been a couple of bucks only. I wasn't able to find anything about this artist or painting on the Internet but I certainly enjoy it.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Love Story About Two Dirty Socks

As I'm starting to write this post I'm not certain how it will turn out. I've been wanting to write it for quite some time now but, to be honest with you, I hesitated because of the person involved in this story. You guessed it: it's my better half. I've been working him for weeks and I think I finally wore him down. This post  may be even considered as the continuation of my post about beauty of imperfection. I was inspired to tell this story by young girls, like my daughter, who found themselves in the somewhat serious and longer relationships, usually with guys who are "almost" perfect. Those girls believe firmly that they can change their man once they live together under the same roof. To DIY a perfect husband or partner so to speak. Husband improvement project. Now, I've seen things and lived long enough to know it doesn't work that way. So whenever I hear something that let me believe this particular girl might think she can change her partner or his bad habits, I tell her my story about two dirty socks.
It all started insanely long ago when I studied at the university and got to know this young boy with the most beautiful  hair, lips and eyes in the world. We were only nineteen years young. Aside from not being able to repair home appliances (very big deal as I come from a DIY family!), he was a very nice guy and I was madly in love with him. I couldn't wait to live with him together. Four years later we married and moved to our first apartment. As many of you may already know, dating and actually living together isn't the same thing. I knew my young husband was always very orderly, sometimes even excessively so. Luckily for me, he continued to be that way and from the beginning on we did our household chores together (thank you, dear mother-in-law!). But there was one thing that drove me nuts each day! He used to leave his two dirty socks inside-out on the floor beside the bed each evening and forgot to put them away in the morning. So whenever I looked there they were: two dark stains on the floor. In the beginning, I asked him nicely to put them away in the laundry. Didn't work. At all. Then I started being upset about it and not too rarely we had a fiercely dispute because of that. One day it all escalated and I was so mad that I didn't want to speak with him. But the socks were still on the floor beside the bed. We didn't speak so I couldn't tell him to put his damn socks away! So as I was cleaning the bedroom and putting things away, I grabbed his socks and put them in the laundry. Thing I refused to do till that day. It took me 2 seconds. Everything was calm. 
It might seem dumb to you, but it took me more than one year to understand that he's been putting up with my flaws (open books and magazines literally everywhere) while I raged about his socks. We were still madly in love. So we decided to not take this matter too seriously (apparently people freak out and divorce over a toothpaste?!). It was so easy and so simple: to love each other for all the good reasons and to accept each other's insignificant flaws. The secret is to not sweat the small stuff. There is no need to ruin the whole marriage or relationship over the toilet seat and the toothpaste! You can't change another person, you can only love them for who they are. So you have to be ready to love, accept, respect and tolerate the person as a whole, with all his good and eventually bad sides. That's it!
As for my DH's two dirty socks, they still live on the floor beside the bed. Occasionally, I make a joke about them and my husband put them away and promise me in all seriousness never to leave them there again. We are still madly in love.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Do You Feel Orange?

Yeah, why can't I feel orange? Or yellow? But I'm allowed to feel blue?! If you're anything like me, you feel colors and colors influence your feelings and moods too. When talking about orange there are no two ways about it: either you love it or you hate it! Either way, you feel passionate about it. And passion is one of the words associated with this color. There are also: heat, joy, energy, fall, harvest,  fire, warmth, sunshine, tropic... Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is said that it produces an invigorating effect, and stimulates mental activity and appetite (not so happy about the last one). Vibrant and glowing, orange can add a punch of energy to any space. Orange is also often overlooked in home decor because of its intensity. But when balanced correctly, orange will add a happy, stimulating and even healing atmosphere to your home. I especially love the combination of orange with white and everything in bluish-grey direction. I could never paint an entire room in orange though, details in small doses infuse already lots of character. How about you, can you handle this color? Here are some vitamin C pictures from my inspiration files:
You like the pillow with rosette clusters in the last picture? You can find a complete instructions to make it yourself  here.
You also have to visit How About Orange blog - awesome! 
To learn more about the psychology of the color orange visit this website.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Simple And Luscious Chocolate Cake

Yesterday evening I was a victim of a ferocious chocolate craving. Normally I don't eat chocolate often but when it hits me I'm just helpless. The only thing I can do is to stay up like hypnotized and go make something chocolaty immediately. I am shamelessly weak. Luckily, this is not the only flaw I have. So I found rapidly a recipe with only few ingredients and that didn't demand the technical knowledge of a French pâtissier.  It is rather of a "whip it up, bake and indulge" kind. I added a white sour cream drizzle over it in the end:
Here is the recipe:

Simple And Luscious Chocolate Cake With Sour Cream Drizzle 

    For the dough:
      - 2 c sugar
      - 1 c oil
      - 2 c youghurt
      - 1 c milk
      - 3 c flour
      - 4 tbsp cocoa
      - 1 tbsp baking powder
      - 1/2 tbsp baking soda 
    For the syrup:
      - 1 c milk
      - 6 tbsp sugar
      - 1/2 c butter
      - 1/2 c chocolate chips
    For the sour cream drizzle:
      - 4 tbsp sour cream
      - 4 tsp icing sugar
      - 1 tsp vanilla
     - dash of milk

Preheat oven to 380 degrees. Cream 4 first ingredients well together in a bowl, add other 4 ingredients and stir well with a wooden spoon. There are no eggs in this recipe! Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool.
While the cake is cooling, prepare the syrup. In a heavy saucepan, combine milk and sugar. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add butter and chocolate chips and stir constantly until chocolate is melted. Pour hot syrup over a cake and let stay for 10 minutes. For the sour cream drizzle, mix all the ingredients with a spoon and serve over cake. Enjoy!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Beautifully Imperfect Life

Curiously enough, it was a picture from a book "Organic and Chic: Cakes, Cookies, and Other Sweets That Taste as Good as They Look" by Sarah Magid that made me think about imperfection in life. As I turned the page and saw this picture I couldn't help but ask myself why the objects in this photo weren't prepared and arranged to perfection as is always the case with this kind of books?
It struck me almost  immediately that my reaction came from this profound, insecure, vulnerable place that pushes me to strive to perfection and tragically enough never achieve it. This place was created very early on by the people that influenced my life: parents, teachers, even friends. "This is not good enough! Why didn't you try harder!? You can do better!" were some of the phrases I heard often, even when I was good - but apparently not good enough. The oddest thing of all is that I continued to beat myself up trough my entire life and showed no mercy for mistakes. Talking about a masochist! 
Maybe some of you already know  that imperfections  make life beautiful and interesting. I can't get  rid of a feeling that I should apologize all the time for my oh! so imperfect self and life. The pressure is even bigger nowadays with all the technologies that one should use and master perfectly. It's all too much: education, job, relationships, children, house, car, gadgets, looks, parenting, money, even blogging. Yes, blogging too. And I'm not going to go in the details about it, you already know what I'm talking about.
By searching on the Internet to see what other people think about imperfections, I stumbled upon Yasmin Ahmad, a  film director, writer and scriptwriter from Malaysia whose video, actually a TV commercial, made me laugh, cry and think. She once said about imperfections: "I wept recognising that no one was perfect, and that if we expected to be loved for all our imperfections, why are we so reluctant to accept and forgive the imperfections of others?" Be sure to watch this video from the beginning to the end.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I Am So Happy About...

1. My New Camera
I finally received my new camera yesterday. After reading many reviews of a low price range digital cameras with lithium-ion rechargeable battery, I decided to go with a very humble model that makes apparently great photos. Well, if people all over the world think it's a good camera (for an amateur like me) - I'll take it! Here is the first photo I made in my living room, with only a little day light:
Here is the second picture made using a macro feature (I cropped it a lot):
Although I reduced the picture to 1024x651, you can see beautiful details (click to see larger image).
Not bad... I will experiment more with my new camera in the coming days and weeks and let you now how it works out for me. 
2. My exams
I was extremely nervous before and during the exam on Saturday. It was a simulation examination, face to face with the examiner only. I think I have a serious problem regarding stressful situations lately. Must start meditation or yoga, stress is killing me. I had my other exam yesterday evening. It was not so easy but I hope I did well. Remember the last exam I had and I cried about this one question I wasn't able to answer correctly? Well, I had the result last night and I had 96 %! I couldn't believe my eyes! It's so embarrassing, whining for nothing, shame on me. And the exam before that (now I'm bragging) I had 100 % on the first part and 92 % on the second. I have only two other exams left: French language and the final exam that includes all the material we had. I'm really happy about it and can't wait to have my diploma.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

I Wish I Had A Secret Double Life

OK, it's not what you think...or is it? I'm talking about having a double style life! Normally I like simple, clean, modern and stylish lines in my clothes and in my home - nothing to busy, please. But since I discovered Swedish designer Gudrun Sjödén and her work I wish my name was Alice and I'd had a magic mirror that could take me in a wonderful colorful Gudrun Sjödén kingdom where I could live (secretly) happily ever after... 
Swedish designer Gudrun Sjödén has been designing her colourful, bold clothes and home wares for more than 30 years. She opened her first boutique in the Swedish capital of Stockholm in 1976 and has worked outside the parameters of conventional fashion ever since. She now has stores in Sweden, Denmark, and Germany. But you can also order her products or catalogs online.
Her clothes and home wares are rich and colorful, different and so beautiful. She gives a modern twist to traditional patterns. Her work is inspired by Scandinavian folklore and rustic interiors as painted by Swedish painter Carl Larsson. Gudrun works with a few simple shapes, the peasant blouse, the full folklore-inspired skirt, the simple grandfather shirt or bodice, the T-shirt, leggings and work trousers. But she also travels the world from Africa to Nepal, visiting suppliers and drawing inspiration for future collections. “The way I design clothes has always been influenced by three main sources – nature, Scandinavian design tradition and meeting people,” she says. Gudrun started having clothes made in India at the beginning of the 1990s, and, now, as she is making the company eco-friendly, she has sourced organic cotton from India. The best part is you can wear her things with a good conscience- Gudrun has a 'no child-labor' policy and uses no chemicals in the manufacturing process. Another interesting thing is that she uses models of all ages and sizes which work very well with this  brand.
For more information visit her website:  www.gudrunsjoden.com

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...