30 May, 2012

Sips : Neko's Revenge

I'm going to be honest for a second:  I like the word "flatmate."  It's easier to say than "apartmentmate," which sounds awkward and isn't even a real word, and makes more sense than "roommate," which is inaccurate.  But to many of my compatriots it probably sounds pretentious.  I'm just giving you fair warning that in the name of efficiency and accuracy, I'm going to be pretentious.

My flatmate and I have been gradually settling into our new apartment over the last few weeks.  We spent Memorial Day getting inspired at Ikea, then came home and finally hung lots of artwork on the walls.  As you can imagine, all that attention to detail was pretty darn taxing ("Is it straight?  Did you hit your thumb?  Where did I put the level?") and by the time we were done it was clearly time for a refreshing cocktail.

When it comes to mixed drinks, my needs are simple.  Give me a gin & tonic or vodka & tonic, and I'm a completely satisfied girl.  But I'm highly intrigued by the weird, wonderful world of mixology, and thankfully my flatmate is equally excited about getting creative with cocktails.  If we had been all intentional and written a Roommate Agreement, the first item would have been something like, "I pledge allegiance to the Cocktail of the Month Club..."

I had been wanting to use coconut rum in something since trying it while at the beach last week.  I also loved the thought of mojitos, but we had no mint in the house - just basil.  And some blackberries.  So, as the sounds of Neko Case echoed through the apartment, I whipped up a drink we've christened "Neko's Revenge."  The coconut is a perfect creamy undertone countering the bittersweet berries.  The larger bits of blackberry sink to the bottom, so you get a few sweet bites at the bottom of each glass.  I'll probably try this with mint at some point but it's quite nice with basil.  Cheers!

Neko's Revenge - 1 serving

6 basil leaves, roughly torn or chopped
4 blackberries
1 teaspoon sugar
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup tonic water or club soda
1/4 cup coconut rum
Ice cubes

Muddle basil, blackberries, lime juice, and sugar in a glass until the berries are mostly crushed.  Add tonic water, rum, and ice.  Stir, and garnish with basil if desired.  Enjoy with your flatmate while admiring your picture-hanging accomplishments.

27 May, 2012

Bits and Pieces

I haven't been writing much lately because I've been busy doing the following:

- Moving into a new apartment
- Preparing for my new job
- Sitting in traffic
- Reading "Persuasion"
- Sitting in traffic
- Spending a blissful week in the Outer Banks with no cell phone reception or internet connection (but plenty of Food Network)
- Making up cocktails with my awesome roommate (more on that in a future post)
- Did I mention the traffic?

The mosaic shop, Ravenna, Italy
I've also been a little short on inspiration.  No - Actually, my life is ripe with inspiration at the moment; the fact is rather that it's all a bit too overwhelming to sort through.  Much of the past six months is still fresh in my mind, and I am frequently revisiting and reliving many moments, emotions, sights, and lessons.  Pardon me for falling back on a tired analogy, but they're like the pieces of tile and glass that make up mosaics like the ones that Carrie and I saw in Ravenna.  Some pieces are decidedly ugly and rough in isolation; others glisten with peerless beauty through and through.  They all eventually fall into place and make one coherent, beautiful visual story; but right now I feel like I'm at the beginning, sifting through a pile of broken and beautiful shards that have been dumped onto a table in front of me.  I don't know the master plan, but I'm trying to figure out where some of the pieces fit, and maybe the purpose of others -- even the really ugly ones -- will become clearer in the process.

12 May, 2012

More Adventures with 5, 7, and 9

7:  That's Sister Nancy, our principal.  She always says to me, "That's my man," because she thinks I am an adult, because I act like one.
Me:  You do?
7:  Yeah.  Yeah, I'm one of them.  I'm going to take her job when she retires.
(Sidenote: This is the same child who told me that he plans to get kicked out of school by age 14...But I guess he's decided that being in charge of school would be an acceptable life path.)
5:  There's Aidan!
7:  My friend Aidan is three, but he's turning four when Black Ops 2 comes out!

07 May, 2012

Adventures with 5, 7, and 9

We interrupt our normally scheduled Italy recaps with a brief detour into the alternate dimension that is a little boy's mind.  Lately I've been helping a woman I know by picking up her 3 boys, ages 5, 7, and 9, from school every day and driving them home.  It's been a while since there have been little children in my life, so I'm enjoying these daily doses of totally uninhibited curiosity.  When I was seven, I think my chief concerns in life were how to save up enough money to buy another American Girl doll, how to become an archaeologist/astronaut/dancer/teacher, and how to avoid eating shrimp at all costs.  5, 7, and 9 are more concerned with where to store their ray guns in case we're ever attacked by Zombie Nazis (what are they teaching them in these schools?), preventing the outbreak of a war in Sweden (I'm fairly confident that we can relax on this point), and the problem of Lady Gaga. 

7: "Is Jesus famous?"
9: "Yeah, duh!  He's, like, the king of everything."
7: "Well, if he's RICH and famous then he could be friends with Lady Gaga."

[Confused silence]

7: "I wish a volcano would explode all over Lady Gaga.  I hate her."
Me: "Whoaaaa whoa whoa -- Now, do you think that's what Jesus wants for Lady Gaga?"
7: "..........No..........."

Other recent highlights included being told that 7 would like to be homeschooled because "when you're homeschooled you don't have to learn anything."  The 3 o'clock pickup is fast becoming the highlight of my day...