Friday, November 30, 2007

Peanut Butter Jelly Time

It's that time of year again!

Our annual celebration to commemorate our pact to join for life is coming up. So, I've decided to take a 4-day weekend! Well, this is as good as any reason to be able to leisurely spend a few days away from work, which I do enjoy but feel that I spend too much time dwelling -- on my butt staring at a screen all day -- upon.

Trader Joe for some edamame, pistachios, sunflower seeds, and gifts for family and friends. Their edamame is the most inexpensive I've found in the area. 2 pounds for under $2. I can't fathom E V E R ordering edamame at a restaurant, where they typically run $3-4 for ~10 pods.

Yes, PODS!

Yay, we went to Shinano for some home-cooked Japanese food. This is the only Japanese restaurant in the region that is capable of making any Japanese dish I request. The restaurant is owned and operated by Japanese people (owner is a sansei). 99% of the time, I don't order off the menu. Not sure if they hate me for that. :P

After not having korokke for nearly 20 years, I had this sudden urge to eat some several months ago. Nothing on their menu has regular potatoes either, but they were able to whip some up for me.

The day before, I was at a session where Dr. Michael Roizen was speaking. He has a book out titled, "YOU: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty."

Dr. Roizen is charismatic and humorous, so the session was very enjoyable. He spoke about living life well, where death does not have to be a downward spiral but more of a swan dive. He spoke on how having 'bad genes' doesn't mean doom, and stressed taking initiative to fix the broken parts so the body can be nudged to work toward its optimal potential. He went over fairly simple 'nudges' for various common problems. One such fix is adding turmeric (eating curry) to your diet due to its beneficial effects against Alzheimer's disease.

I'm definitely going to look through the book the next time I hit a bookstore. If the book is anything like his presentation, I will purchase the book not only for myself, but for others!

- Cassaendra

Friday, November 23, 2007

Day I Got More Than Cookie

Oooh, my stuffed belly. I had trouble sleeping through the night because I was so full!

Bug cooked Thanksgiving (week) feast from Monday into Thursday afternoon...well, not all hours of the day and night. Ample time was spent sleeping and raiding on WoW, since we had all our groceries by the weekend.

The spread:
- stuffing
- white rice
- dirty rice
- cranberry sauce
- the best mashed potatoes I've ever eaten
- mustard greens...mmm smokey, but a little too salty
- turkey with gravy
- green bean casserole
- red velvet cake...almost all gone by Wednesday! Oops!
- sweet potato pie to the rescue

We had the fixin's and every intention, but no room left, to make:
- German potato salad
- goulash with spaetzle
- yams with marshmallows

It'll be our dinner this weekend along with the feast leftovers!

Despite all the food we have left over, I rushed out of the house this morning because I wanted to leave early for work due to the snow and didn't have time to eat breakfast at home or pack a lunch. I arrived 20 minutes early. Traffic was light, but people were driving achingly slow for the conditions as it had stopped snowing.

It was early enough to get myself a small bowl of watermelon and a refreshing bottle of Kristall lingonberry soda for breakfast. I find it satisfying sipping on lingonberry soda, looking out the window watching the fluffy snow twirl and dance by. For lunch, I had a roast beef sandwich from Subway and a bowl of vegetable soup.

Ugh, my aching tummy! I'm stuffed all over again!

- Cassaendra

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ode to Joy

The title "Ode to Joy" came to mind while I was savoring my dark chocolate peppermint mocha frappucino from Starbucks. It dawned on me that I've never read the lyrics to that song. I've played it before, and in my mind I can hear the loud din of a choir singing the chorus...without any discernable words.

I ran "ode to joy" on Google and came up with a Wikipedia (*groan*) entry. Yes, I take any information on that public forum with a grain of salt. They listed the original German "lyrics" and the English translation adjacent to it.

The poem by Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller is titled, "An die Freude" ("To Joy").

Not being a practitioner of any religion, I still found certain images to be rather interesting.

Joy, thou source of light immortal,
Daughter of Elysium!
Touched with fire, to the portal,
Of thy radiant shrine, we come.
Your sweet magic, frees all others,
Held in custom's rigid rings,
All men on earth become brothers,
In the haven of your wings.

Be embraced, you millions!
This kiss for the entire world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
Must a loving Father reside.

Whoever has the great fortune,
To be a friend’s friend,
Whoever wins the love of a lovely woman,
Add his jubilation to ours!
Yes, anyone also who has a soul
To call his own on this earth!
And anyone who never could, should run away
Weeping from this brotherhood!

Those who occupy the great circle,
Pay homage to sympathy!
It leads to the stars
Where the unknown is enthroned

Joy, all creatures drink
At the bosoms of nature,
All good, all evil
Follow your trail of roses.
Kisses she gives us, and wine,
A friend, proven in death.
Pleasure was given to the worm,
And the cherub stands before God.

Do you fall before him, you millions?
Do you sense the Creator, world?
Seek him above the starry canopy,
Above the stars he must live.

Joy is called the strong spring
In the perpetuity of nature.
Joy, joy drives the wheels
In the earth’s great clock.
Flowers, she calls from the buds,
Suns, out of the firmament,
Spheres, she rolls through space
That the seer cannot know

Happy, as his suns fly
Through the heavens’ magnificent plan
Run, brothers, your race
Joyful, as a hero to victory.

As truth’s fiery reflection
Smiles at the explorer,
To virtue’s steep hill
She guides the silent sufferers’ path.
On faith’s sunlit summit
One sees her banners in the wind,
Through the cracks of burst coffins
They are seen in the chorus of angels.

Endure courageously, you millions!
Endure for the better world!
Over the starry canopy
A good God will reward you!

Gods one cannot repay
Beautiful it is, to be like them.
Grief and poverty, acquaint yourselves
With the joyful ones rejoice.
Anger and revenge be forgotten,
Our deadly enemy be forgiven,
No tears shall he shed
No remorse shall gnaw at him

Our debt registers be abolished
Reconcile the entire world!
Brothers, over the starry canopy
God judges, as we judged.

Joy bubbles in the cup,
In the grape’s golden blood
Cannibals drink gentleness
The fearful, courage --
Brothers, fly from your perches,
When the full cup is passed,
Let the foam spray to the heavens
This glass to the good spirit

He whom the spirals of stars praise,
He whom the seraphim’s hymn glorifies,
This glass to the good spirit
Above the starry canopy!

Courage firm in great suffering,
Help there, where innocence weeps,
Eternally sworn oaths,
Truth towards friend and foe,
Mens’ pride before kings’ thrones --
Brothers, even if it costs property and blood, --
The crowns to those who earn them,
Defeat to the lying brood!

Close the holy circle tighter,
Swear by this golden vine:
Remain true to the vows,
Swear by the judge above the stars!

Escape the tyrants’ chains,
Generosity also to the villain,
Hope upon the deathbeds,
Mercy from the high court!
The dead, too, shall live!
Brothers, drink and chime in,
All sinners shall be forgiven,
And hell shall be no more.

A serene departing hour!
Sweet sleep in the shroud!
Brothers—a mild sentence
From the final judge!

I also didn't realize how long the lyrics were!

- Cassaendra

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Putt Putt

Like a little schoolboy, as soon as the WoW servers came online last week Tuesday after patch 2.3, Bug ran to the vendor, bought his hula doll, and put his engineering mastery to use to make the newly available turbo-charged flying machine.

Yes, the hula doll is on the dashboard as you can see...

It sputters (?hydrocarbons) and gasps on liftoff, and may look rickety with an occasional mid-air idle, but it's an extremely fast flying machine.

Bug & I

Friday evening, we went out to eat at Seoul Restaurant. There was a different young guy working behind the counter. Still an extremely polite, cute, and very young 1st gen Korean.

As I was glossing over the menu, my eyes kept wandering over to the bulgogi, but I was determined to get something new. In the past, we've ordered the dinner for two - mandu (appetizer), bulgogi (main dish), and ice cream/fruit (dessert) for $25.

Bulgogi is my favorite Korean dish. Thinly sliced beef marinated in a slightly sweetened soy sauce with sesame, grilled, and oh-so-tender. With English choir gospel playing in the background, it inspired me to order the kim chee soup; the name has slipped my mind. In the description, it said, kim chee, meat, and noodles. I figured, "Meh, how could this possibly go wrong?" so I ordered it. Bug ordered bulgogi. We also ordered a huge platter of mandu.

There were two other parties in the restaurant, both spoke only Korean. This always makes me happy...or more like reassurance that it's not craptastic Korean food.

Waiting for our food, I'd forgotten about the large picture of Jesus hanging from the wall. Interspersed along the walls are newspaper reprints about the restaurant and taped white copy paper with marker-scribbled Korean script, presumably advertising dishes.

While we were waiting for our food, Bug and I were talking about "the game." He was quite excited about getting a belt earlier in the day.

Our big platter of mandu arrived. This time, the dumplings were fried 'til it formed a dark brown crust. Oooh, perfection! The sauce here is great. It's a thick soy sauce base, with crushed chili peppers and sesame. After eating 4 meaty dumplings, my mouth was tingling a little. I had two more dumplings left and was saving it until the rice arrived.

A few minutes later, our 8 side dishes and two steel bowls of rice arrived. The side dishes consisted of kim chee'ed sliced cucumbers, cabbage, and daikon triangles in separate dishes; julienne carrots and daikon in a very light and sweetened vinegar (almost Vietnamese style); bean sprouts in sesame and chili oil; fried tofu, red and green bell peppers in sesame oil; choi sum in soy sauce and chili peppers; and dried sardines with chili peppers. After a nibble of each of the dishes, my mouth was tingling constantly. My favorites this time around were the fried tofu in oil and the choi sum. The fried tofu was soft and tasty, with a mellow sesame flavor, while the fresh choi sum had a slight crunch and crisp dark green flavor.

Bug's bulgogi arrived. And then I heard what sounded like a bubbling cauldron approaching. The young guy was carefully carrying a little earthen pot. My god, as I peered over the edge as he set the soup down before me, I saw angrily boiling red. I waited a couple of minutes, and it was still gurgling!

I mixed the bubbling soup to investigate what I had ordered. I came across a piece of mochi! I put the molten piece of mochi in my mouth. My eyes instantly watered as my mouth began to drip from my face.

It was a little hot...

The soup consisted of kim chee, mochi, tofu, chili peppers, pieces of meat, more kim chee, onions, and bamboo shoot slivers. I took my first sip. The soup was HOT! Like...peppery hot!

The side dishes would be of no solace - despite the majority being cold - just more kindling to stoke the flames! GAH! The daikon and carrot slivers caught me eye, so I greedily ate those to smolder the flames. It worked! I took another sip of my soup with a piece of cabbage and the flames erupted again.

Midway through the meal, I began to cough up phlegm from the deep recesses of my lungs, it was great!

Halfway home, with the still-hot soup in a container on my lap, my mouth was still burning. I thought, "Wow! I can't wait to return and try another hot pot concoction!"

- Cassaendra

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Light of the Dharma

At work, we celebrated Diwali, a corruption of Deepawali, which is the "light of the dharma," or literally, "array of clay lamps." The celebration is also known as the Festival of Lights. This is an Indian celebration of the victory of good over evil. It was to have been celebrated on November 9th, but it was hectic here and moved to this week. The actual day is determined by the Hindu calendar, as opposed to a predetermined calendar date in the year, which falls some time in October or November.

The celebration was very bright and festive. The scent of candles, cardamom and cumin filled the halls. There was a large spread of food that many of our Indian co-workers made! The hallway was abuzz with excitement. Definitely a joyous time. Several varieties of samosa and spicy "trail mixes," for a lack of a better way for ignorant-me to describe it, were served, as well as lassi, pakoda with cilantro chutney, various finger cookies, rasmalai, and semia. All dishes were made from scratch!

Lassi was excellent. It is a lightly sweetened yogurt drink infused with cardamom. It tasted liked Yakult. I enjoyed nibbling on the remnants of cardamom that collected at the bottom of my cup.

Pakoda was my favorite. It is a spicy deep fried cluster of peas mixed with flour, other vegetables, and cumin. It was a little buttery in flavor, and went well with the spicier cilantro chutney. I can't stand cilantro, but this was wonderful!

The trail mix consisted of tiny pieces of vermicelli, nuts, and other grains that were probably roasted. They were crunchy with a faint buttery cumin flavor and a spicy zip. Once it's been munched, you miss the flavor, and have to go back for more. It's dangerously addictive and I'm glad the food is not in my hallway anymore, since I moved offices.

Each year, I look forward to the dessert made with ricotta cheese, rasmalai. Oh how I love the milky dessert with clumps of ricotta. As one would imagine, it's sweet and creamy. The ground pistachios beautifully contrast the color of the white dessert and gives it a slightly nutty flavor. It always amazes me that cheese can be used as a dessert so deliciously!

I brought spaghetti napolitan for lunch. What a waste, since I'm so full!! Maybe after I poop, I'll be hungry enough to eat again! I'm sure all the creamy desserts will send me to the pot very soon! Go go lactose intolerance!

- Cassaendra

Friday, November 9, 2007

28 Days Later

What can happen in 4 weeks?

(image from

(image from

Or you can be sick. CoughSniffleSneezeHack. 4 weeks and counting. Although, today I feel much better, despite the drippy nose. I think it's because I gave it to everyone else at work and it's Friday! Muhahahaha!

Oh, and I'm not pregnant. When I initially linked the pics, the train of thought didn't dawn on me until I hit "Publish" tee hee.

- Cassaendra

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