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Too Many Kansai Pictures, Part Second! [May. 5th, 2015|03:08 pm]
susan smitten
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I spent day two in Kobe with my old friends Muyan and Mike. A more perfect day cannot be imagined.


The weather was clear and the sky was blue.


We stumbled upon the Kobe German Beer Festival, complete with pretzels, accordions, and happy people drinking delicious beer.


The festival was in Harborland.


We stepped into a bakery so Michael could buy cute buns for his 2.5 year old daughter.


Then we went to Chinatown for lunch, street food, and souvenirs.


Then a walk through Sannomiya.


I took pictures of things one could buy in Sannomiya.


Muyan and I walked up into posh Kitano. I snagged a picture of Kujira No Andy from the outside.


We went into Nishimura Coffee.


I had tea.


Then shopping at Tokyu Hands. This is a B-Side sticker. They're all the rage. I was looking for a blue sticker for my blue car. Maybe not this one, though. Not in Dubai.


They offer TP you can read. Well, maybe not you; some people can read it.


After dark, I went to the Sone jazz club, where I floated away on some really heartfelt tunes.
link1 footstep|mind the misty sea

Too Many Kansai Pictures! Part First.. [Apr. 30th, 2015|08:35 pm]
susan smitten
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My holiday in Japan was short, but yielded many photographs. Let's start with the first evening. My friends Kazuki and Yumi (and their three beautiful children) met me when I arrived, and we headed to Kujira No Andy, my favorite restaurant in Japan, where once again I was floored by the profound deliciousness of Andy's cuisine. This restaurant is one table only per night, and is by reservation only. It has no menu; you tell them what you feel like having, and they create something fabulous. The children had spag-bol and fries. For the grownups, I requested Japanese food. I mentioned that I might like to eat some seafood.


This is Hitomi, one of the chefs of Kujira no Andy.


Here's Yoshihiro putting the finishing touch on dessert. Our friends refer to the couple collectively as "Andy."


Left to right: Yuki, Kazuki, Koki, Yumi. Little Kimi is asleep in a pram.


There's Kimi! And radiant Yumi.


First course is sushi. The nearest one is red pepper, the next one is omelet. I don't think I got a picture of every course.


The take-no-ko, or bamboo shoots, on the right hand side were the most savory, melty thing I'd ever tasted.


This was good, and maybe I drank the dressing from the bowl.


Tempura and Sauvignon Blanc.


The main course. I had fish (trying to remember which one), and my friends had pork and steak, respectively, but all were served with potatoes, pesto, and balsamic. Delicious, delicious.




link1 footstep|mind the misty sea

Pretty Little Things [Apr. 11th, 2015|11:15 am]
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In February, my cousin Robert and his son came to Dubai for a shooting event. His wife, Julie, sent with him a purse to give to me, which had belonged to our grandma (my father's mother), Margaret Cash Strickland.


I think it's so pretty.


It was made in Československo.


Inside it I found these incredibly lovely things!


This is a petit point matchbook.


Seems it may have come from Vienna!


This pin has a tiny, tiny micro petit point.


And this one is even tinier.


There isn't any needlepoint on this locket, but it has a neat design and it's really small.


There's a small picture inside. Dad, do you know who it is? Is it Roy Strickland?

~ ~ ~

Edited to add! Here's a letter my dad sent me about the pretty little things:

Hi, Sq,
Very interesting stuff! Well, maybe interesting to only you and me, but who else matters?

Grandma and I went to Europe twice. Maybe three times. We rented a car in Amsterdam and drove to Rotterdam, Brussels, Munich, and Vienna.

She carried the little purse thing when she really got all dressed up. Where she got it I really don’t remember exactly, but possibly (and maybe probably) in Vienna since that’s not very far from “Ceskoslovensko”. She may have gotten the petit point things in Austria also. We likely stayed at stayed at the Vienna Intercontinental Hotel. As I recall, they were friendly toward airline-employee types.

I’m certain the cameo pendant thing (or whatever you call it) she got in either Rome or Naples. We visited a place where they carve them out of the inner surface of conch shells (“mother of pearl” they call it, I think). Before she bought that one she bought one from a street vendor who was sitting outside carving them. His products wouldn’t stand up to a very close inspection. In fact, his qualified as a POS. although Grandma didn’t identify it as such.

I remember the locket but I don’t know whether the picture is of my dad or not. Hard to tell, but I can’t imagine her putting a picture of anybody else’s dad in there.

The little pin with the green stones, she got in Mexico City

I’m thoroughly pleased that that you have those things and I’m grateful to Julie for passing them on to you. They were very important to Margaret Strickland.

Love,

Y.O.M.


And here are some pictures I've posted before of Margaret Cash.



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Stuffed Peppers, Stuff of Dreams [Dec. 30th, 2014|07:10 pm]
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This is a true story.

Last week, sleeping in an airport hotel in Germany, I had this dream: I chopped two 10" stalks of celery with half a big yellow onion and sautéed it all in olive oil with a little salt. Then I drained and rinsed a can of green lentils and sautéed them with the celery and onion, then added some tomato paste and a splash of white wine. I stuffed this mixture into a couple of red bell peppers, and baked them.

When I woke up, I was in a remote airport hotel in Germany, and it was six o'clock in the morning. When I came back, the only groceries I needed to buy to make this work were two red peppers.



I didn't want to open a bottle of white, so I used Martini Bianco vermouth, probably about 50ml. And then I realized I had finished up my tomato paste, so I used a little ketchup. Same thing, right? The mixture perfectly fit into two peppers, with maybe one forkful extra so I could taste it first. I baked them at 400°F (204°C) for half an hour. And they were so much tastier than I had dreamed they would be.
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Glorious Caribbean Holiday: Around the Ship [Dec. 29th, 2014|02:29 pm]
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I have a lot more to show you from last month's holiday. Here's a look around the Royal Princess.


A cloudy day. This is the upper deck, where I liked to read and watch films such as Big (shown), Mrs. Doubtfire, and The Princess Bride. That pool was cold and deep and I loved it so much.


Inside, it's pretty everywhere.


Including the ceilings.


This string quartet played several times a day throughout the ship. I followed them around. I also followed the two jazz bands.


This barefoot vendor of happiness is a maestro called Kory Simon. I was a huge fan, and caught his show at least five times.


There were comedy shows.


Karaoke almost every night.


Cooking demonstrations. This one was Indonesian and Filipino dishes.


Ginger, lemongrass, coconut milk, garlic, onions, chilis... all the usual suspects.


Another cooking show in the much larger auditorium, demonstrating risotto and black forest cake.


This was followed by a trip to the galley.


This was relevant to my own job and I found it extraordinarily interesting.


Ship galleys are larger than aircraft galleys.


This sort of set-up looks very familiar to me.


Speaking of food, this was one of my courses one evening. I was so happy when Asian food featured on the menu.


I took a ballroom dance class.


I stepped on this gentleman's toes a few times.


My mom took these pictures of me trying to waltz.


Champagne fountain.


My parents! Aren't they cute?


This is a glass bottomed bridge for 360° views.


And this was the view from our own balcony.
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