this and that

A week in the life…

I’ve been taking random snapshots of things that happen to me that are not important whatsoever but that kind of capture a bit of what’s happening. Since I haven’t had much to write about lately, I offer you these:

meerkat snacktime

This was a week ago: the meerkats got a snack. It was cute. I photographed it.

more doctor photos

Last Friday, I learned the source of the random photo in the exam room at my doctors’ office: my doc went on safari a few years ago. This is in her actual office.

tiger nails

Self-done manicure. I like the tiger stripes.

Leena and the purple blanket

Leena loves this blanket. Over the weekend, someone (probably her…) got sick on my regular bedspread. It’s getting professionally cleaned.

gibbon hands

Hanging out with the gibbons on Tuesday was nice. They have really long fingers.

carwash: the view from inside

Tuesday afternoon I went to the automatic carwash. I think I enjoyed it almost as much as I did when I was five.

shiny new boots

Yesterday I bought new zoo boots and today I felt the need to document them while they were shiny and new and kind of pretty. New boots are exciting!

So that’s been my uneventful week. Next week begins BIRTHDAY MONTH and I intend to celebrate! I’ve been told this year is my “forever birthday” because it’s the one I will claim forever. This entertains me greatly, as getting older has never bothered me. As the song says, “wake me up when September ends.” I’m ready for October! ^_^

food things

Shabu shabu

One of the fun things about living in Hawaii is that it’s somewhat like living in an Asian country… but not. I get to experience a lot of things that are new because of this, including mochi ice cream and gyotaku and the like. Today I learned a new word, though– shabu shabu.

Shabu shabu (or “swish swish”) is another name for a “hot pot,” or a soup made at the table. Each table has a hot plate in the middle, and you order a broth (vegetable, miso, beef, chicken, etc) which comes out and is heated on the hot plate. You can order thinly sliced meats if you like, and there is a refrigerator in the back full of cut veggies, spouts, mushrooms, noodles, and all sorts of seafood.

shabu shabu

After choosing what you like (my friend and I got a little excited over the veggies today) you put in whatever you want into the broth and wait for it to cook. In this way it’s similar to fondu, but made in a broth instead of oil so a lot healthier.

As it cooks in the broth, you can add spices, sauces, onions, all sort of things to tweak the flavor to your taste. I think it’s fun to play with all of the spices, but my favorite is the “house special,” whatever that is.

hot pot

After everything is cooked, you ladle it into your bowl (over rice if you like!) and have a wonderful soup! It’s fun to do and tastes really lovely.

Oh, and you get a mochi ice cream ball for dessert. Today I had strawberry. ^_^

this and that


Lately we’ve had a lot of very vivid rainbows. I think it’s the time of year and the angle at which the sun hits the horizon and the fact that we’re creeping into rainy season so the afternoons and evenings are starting to be drizzly. Here are a couple from the last week or so. (Please note that in both cases I took the pictures with my phone because I didn’t have my real camera with me… so the brightness isn’t entirely captured.)

September double rainbow

This next one was so bright that it could be seen on the blue part of the sky, and it lasted over an hour– from about 5pm to past 6pm. I actually stopped my car and leaned out the window to take the photo.

Bright rainbow

You can see the faint bit at the top where it’s starting to reflect into a double rainbow as well. It’s amazing how you can see all the colors.

The most amazing rainbow I ever saw was about a year ago and I didn’t get a photo. The sky was covered in low clouds and the sun was setting behind them. Somewhere close to the horizon it found an opening and lit the whole sky red. There was a very light shower and the rainbow it made covered half of the sky. It was incredibly steep and vivid and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before and I was so transfixed that I didn’t photograph it. And if you know me at all, you know how absorbed I have to be to forget to get out my camera.

Commentary, movie reviews, musings

Revisiting Childhood: The Lion King

Tonight I went to see the Lion King in 3D and I have to admit that I got chills when the sun first popped into view and the music started. It’s a great piece of music for one, but also because it was fun to see something that I remember seeing in theaters. In fact, I remember liking the movie so much we went to see it a second time at the $1 theater six months after it first opened.

While a lot of the movie is exactly as I remember it (I have it on DVD, too, so it’s not like I haven’t seen it in years or anything, though it has been a while), there are several things I didn’t notice as a child. And the interesting thing about childhood memories is that they are sometimes so strong that they continue to be the main perception of something. For instance, even though I’ve seen this movie a dozen times at least (plus every week of summer camp at the zoo), and even though I’ve seen the Broadway production, for the first time I heard the dialog as an adult and not as a kid. I noticed the Reservoir Dogs joke (“They call me… Mr. PIG!”) and other such small things that meant nothing to me 17 years ago when the movie was made.

Another thing I noticed? For being out of food about about to starve, those lionesses are still kind of, well, rounded. If they looked like that in a zoo, they’d be put on a diet reduction. (Note to self: cartoonlionscartoonlionscartoonlionsCARTOONLIONS)

Also, how did Scar get his name? It’s got to be a nickname since everyone else has African-sounding names. Plus, if he was born with the scar then it’s not really a scar, now is it? It’s just a weird stripe on his face. As an adult I imagine that Mufasa and his brother fought as cubs and that Mufasa gave him the scar and therefore the new name. (I have found that my theory is correct. Hmm.)

Another difference from childhood? I’ve now studied Hamlet. Hello, plotline.

But really, it was fun to rediscover my favorite movie from childhood and to find that it’s still beautiful and that I can still enjoy it (even if I spent the entire opening sequence thinking “Hey, look, it’s a kudu!” and other such things). And I think I’d like the new remastered version on DVD to replace my old, well loved copy.

photography, this and that

August photos

I didn’t take many photos in August, but what I took, I’ve uploaded here. Several are the ones I’ve posted here but a few are not, including some aquarium photos. So there you go.

Spotted fish

Also, I think Caspian has more issues than I realized. There are some pans sitting by the front door that I’m getting rid of and are there to remind me to pack them in the car tomorrow… and tonight they have become the SCARY THING WE MUST POKE. There is always a scary thing we must poke, but at least the pans don’t move when touched.. unlike gardening gloves…

Joanna problems, throwback

Candy Corn Confessional

There are a lot of things from childhood (and even from early adulthood) about which I feel a certain nostalgia. These things range from the $.05 candies (always “tutti frutti”) at the corner store in Edisto when I was 6 to being in Chapel Hill for Halloween during college. In both of these cases, as well as many others, I feel that if I ever tried to go back and recapture the moment as it exists in my head, that it will forever be ruined. Memories last a long time, but those impressions are fleeting in a way, where going back has too much potential to disappoint. Some things are best left to memory lest they turn out to be less than wonderful. It’s quite a bit like the sleigh bell in The Polar Express that eventually stops ringing as the magic of childhood fades.

By the same token, there are some things, mostly very small things, that I have held onto even as I’ve moved farther into adulthood. One of these is decorating for Christmas at the same time every year; I always put up the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, if not immediately after Thanksgiving dinner itself. This started off as a combination of excitement and convenience: my brother, sister, and I were always very excited to get out the Christmas decorations, but also (especially as we got older) Thanksgiving was one time when everyone was in the house and it could be an event.

But there is one little tradition I have that hasn’t quite faded. Every year I wait for the arrival of the Halloween candy, not because I like Halloween candy specifically, but to get my hands on Brach’s candy corn and pumpkins. (Yes, it has to be Brach’s.) For some reason this particular flavor from childhood has never changed to my palate (I once liked circus peanuts, for instance, and now find them disgusting) and I buy a bag each year. These pumpkins have decorated birthday cakes, have been used as toys, and have been my favorite fall candy for years.

There is a part of me, though, that almost dreads the candy corn because I feel like at some point my tastes will change and I will open my little orange packet and the pumpkins won’t satisfy because I’ll have outgrown the sugary sweetness. I have already found that most sugar candies aren’t good to me any more, but so far the candy corn is still just the way I remember it. And in a strange way, that’s comforting.