Friday, November 5, 2010

Day of Reckoning

This blog has been up and running for over two months now, so I decided it was time for an update, and, possibly, a confession. Let's start with my attempt to learn to speak Chinese. I am slowly moving forward, which I guess is better than being stalled or actually losing ground. I was pleasantly surprised to see basic Chinese language lessons included in the special features section of the new Karate Kid DVD. For those who haven't seen this movie, it follows the story line from the original Karate Kid very closely but the new story takes place in China rather than California, and is about kung fu, not karate. I found this part a bit confusing- why would they name a movie about kung fu the Karate Kid? This in turn made me rather suspicious of the Chinese language lessons in the special features section. The movie is set in Beijing, so the language spoken should be Mandarin, not Cantonese. But then again, the title of the movie should have been the Kung Fu Kid, so I got out my Chinese/English dictionary and double checked. It appears to be Mandarin, but I am going to ask Diana to rent the movie and confirm this for me. When spoken, Mandarin and Cantonese are two completely different languages, thus my caution. The fact I can't tell for sure which one is being used in the movie makes me think I might not be making as much progress in this area as I had hoped.

The dividends from the tomato season are finally paying off. Now that the hard work is over and all I have to do is grab a jar of tomatoes to throw in a stew, or take some pizza sauce out of the freezer to make a quick dinner, it all seems worthwhile. And yes, in the Hammond house putting together a homemade pizza is considered a quick dinner fix. Details to follow in a future blog post.

There is excellent news in the tea department. I have faithfully had green tea for my daily cuppa since I originally blogged about my intentions. I do have the occasional cup of black tea, usually on a Sunday afternoon for a treat, but I have to admit it does taste a bit sweet with all of that honey in it now that my taste buds are no longer accustomed to it. My green tea consumption has been enhanced by my recent discovery of this yummy blend at Starbucks. Tazo orange blossom tea, the perfect drink on a cold autumn afternoon. And after the incident with my old computer you can bet I am protecting my Mac like a newborn baby!

I am afraid the news in the cookbook department is not as good. First of all, I had not factored in the temptation of the internet and magazines with yummy sounding recipes when it came to remaining faithful to just two cookbooks at a time. But, more than that, I realized I could not easily walk away from my relationship with Jamie Oliver. It would appear my daughter Rebekah has the same problem. I would start out the week with the best of intentions, but by the time Tuesday or Wednesday had rolled around Jamie's Food Revolution would be back out on my kitchen table with me pouring through its pages. Then there was this little slip. Have I mentioned that right after Jamie Oliver on my list of food gurus comes Ina Garten, or as she is more commonly know, the Barefoot Contessa? There is no small amount of irony in the name of her latest offering, which also happens to be my latest cookbook acquisition.

I realize I didn't post this resolution on my blog, but I did manage to keep it so will show you just to prove that I can stick to some things. I am a knitter. If that sounds a lot like the admission that addicts make at 12 step groups there is a reason. I have a tendency to start a new project before I have finished the other five, or six, or however many I already have on the needles. Well, this time I promised myself that I could not start the sweater my daughter Alexandra wanted me to knit for her until I completed the cabled vest I was making for myself. So here it is, my Heather Hoodie Vest.

And now for the confession. Remember the snake I encountered on one of my hikes through the bush? Let's just say that it is amazing how much bigger something can be made to look with a zoom lens. Here is the "unzoomed" picture. If you get out a magnifying glass I think you should be able to spot the itty bitty baby snake in the lower left corner of this photo. You didn't really think I would have the courage to stand there and take a picture of a full-sized one did you?


  1. your sweater is beautiful! I will have to check out the kung fu, formerly known as karate, kid movie too...I have been enjoying tea from this David's Tea place - my new fave is their cinnamon heart which tastes like a cinnamon latte when you add milk and sugar but contains pu'erh so its 'healthy', it does have Chinese black tea in it too though and kept me up all last night...its a good 'treat' though!

  2. Great post. My NaNo name is danicagrunert. It's my first time too. Right now I'm on target - but only because I slaved away on friday to catch up all the lagging from my daily goals from the rest of the week. The writing is so, so bad! But I love how the deadline forces me to keep going instead of stopping to fix it. How is it going for you?

  3. Lovely vest!! And I'll have to try that orange blossom tea next time I'm at Starbucks!

  4. Haha, I guess a baby snake is slightly less creepy than it's parent--but it's still creepy. About the movie does it at least have a "wax on, wax off" segment?

    I always enjoy a good confession--I like having company. At times I feel like I have a confession compulsion. So often my failures could so easily go undedected, but I usually rat on myself.

    If you post that you make the dough for the homemade pizza, I'm going to say "you're living my life." A former boss of mine used to say that whenever I did something he wished he was doing, but wasn't. I used to tell him he could do it if he wanted to, so I have to tell myself the same thing. =)

  5. Re tea. I am addicted to Chai tea. We had this first in Sweden where the girl made it with hot milk, like a cappuccino, and we thought it most bizarre in the heat of August. but there is something very special about it as a straight tea with milk.

  6. I love your vest ... I am getting ready to start a vest myself. My daughter could help you with your Chinese if you need it ... she has her global certification in Mandarin. Just let me know.

  7. I'm hovering on that fine line between being impressed versus depressed about your abilities. But I always lean towards the positive! =)

  8. PS - Just teasing about the depression--it's strictly a matter of admiration.