Friday, March 31, 2017

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Yesterday was a good day. Great actually. I passed an important examination and I did it on a first try, and without all the fuss which happens if you do not answer questions the way they wanted... If you miss something, you either have to go for an oral exam- to discuss whatever was missing, or if you fail on a greater scale, you need to redo the whole thing. And since you never know really, I was super happy to learn that I passed and can move on to... the next exam in 3.5 weeks.

Yay for me!

Do not even have time for the lengthy celebrations. However, I opened a bottle of sweet wine and had a glass.

I also removed the pile of books that I do not need anymore (two feet high) and replaced it with materials for the second examination. This pile is just about one foot, so things look promising!

Finally, I checked the weather yesterday. It is supposed to stay warm with nights above 55F/13C, so decided to take some plants outside for the summer. There is lots of cleaning to be done though. All the plants do not look too impressive YET but they survived the winter, so that's a start!
I wish I had more time in upcoming weeks to do desperately-needed garden-work or just clean the house...

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Warm weather is here!

It is so nice to go outside and not be freezing! It is kind of weird though because some places still have gray winter look and you would not tell the temperature was above 20C or 71F. I took these pictures five days ago.

 And of course, cats tried to help but ended up chasing birds and each other...

I have already posted pictures of my cherry tree but camellia is in full bloom, too!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hana, the cougar!

I just had to post this! Went for a walk to take some pictures of wild vines in the woods for my next post. Hana followed and obviously could not understand why I would take pictures of WHATEVER but not HER. She was getting in front of my camera all the time and actually it was sort of annoying... At one point, she got really close and since she kind of popped out of nowhere, I took picture. When I checked the picture later, she looks like a very mean cougar sniffing a trail camera! Or sniffing a dead tourist... Damn, I was lucky to get away alive!
Need to be careful in the woods next time, so many hazards and dangers lurking in the bushes... :)


Although I worked over the weekend, I managed to go for a walk on Sunday in the local park. The weather was rather cold but I think it is the last of low temps. Today, indeed, it is quite nice, about 69F/20C and I hope it stays that way!
There was one definite sign of spring and summer: the rowers! I love the sight and excitement BUT I do not like crowds and busses blocking nearby streets and parking lots. Drives me nuts especially in the mornings when I need to get to work. All the speed limits are set to 10 mph and you need to watch for crazy people running back and forth, and jumping in front of your car from behind other cars... Ugh...

The spell of cold killed practically all the flowers, so this is also why the pictures I took during my walk have this grey winter look. :(

And I made another fruit salad for dinner: 1 apple, 1 cup of blueberries, 2 cups of honeydew melon, 1 cup of strawberries, and coconut chips. I added more coconut chips later, so I think it was almost 1/2 cup.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Coconut chips

I have "discovered" coconut chips some time ago but forgot to mention how much I love them. :)  At first, I was quite reluctant to buy them because I thought they were like coconut shreds meaning moist, which I do NOT like. Oh, but coconut chips are DRY, so DRY and CRUNCHY!!!! Yum. Basically, once I realized this special quality, I was back in the store for 3 more packages, so I would not run out in the middle of the meal (silly). 
I tried various fruit salad combinations but my favorite is just an apple, strawberries, and coconut chips or apple, banana, and coconut chips. May add blueberries. The serving size is 3 table spoons but I use about 4-5.

The store nearby also started carrying bulk nuts and seeds, so I got myself one pound of  raw and unsalted pistachios. They are expensive, practically $20.00 per pound BUT they are very nutritious with 10g of protein in 1/3 cup or something like that. So during my last trip to the store I bought a bag. Here is my mix instead of traditional cereal (which I have stopped eating since it has too much processed sugar): 1/3 cup of pistachios, 1/3 cup of dried cranberries, and 1/3 cup of raw unsalted sunflower seeds with hemp and soy milk.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Time goes by so fast! Cannot believe March is halfway through!!!
My schedule got crazier than I thought, so I had no time to post any Spring  pictures. Anyway...
Let's start with flowers.

And these are first flowers on my lemon tree! Yay!!

I am super excited about lemon tree because although it bloomed last year for the very first time, I lost all little lemons in a storm. The wind was so strong that it knocked off all tiny fruit. So now I consider keeping the tree inside for the rest of the season. Positives: no wind, no nasty rain, no animals or bugs eating leaves. Negatives: mites (dry air), too little light for lemons to actually grow to the full edible size. If I decide to keep it inside, I may want to get a special lamp to provide extra light. Anyone tried a lamp for indoor plants?
Since last post, I have also done some "creative" cooking. Mostly because it was cold and I felt like eating warm stuff instead of salads. From several dishes, I really liked the version of miso soup. The base is traditional but I just added more veggies to it.

 Here it is all ready with rice noodles and tofu. Yummy!
And since I had lots of various greens left (turnip, kale) and some of my home-grown green tomatoes, I chopped them with fresh ginger and garlic, and fried lightly in sesame oil.

Once you have such greens ready, you may add them to whatever other dishes you make. You may eat them with noodles, rice, scrambled eggs, bread, whatever really.

Unfortunately, we also had to say good-bye to our friend possum Felek. He was born last spring, had some health issues from the start, and was practically blind. Surprisingly survived for so many months- it was amazing that coyotes did not get him. He was an optimist and fighter! I found him in the woods very weak, took him home but it was too late. It was a very sad day because we all liked Felek so much! It is hard to imagine not having him around. He was here every day and once he even managed to get inside the house!  :)
Good-bye, Wild Felek, good-bye...