I have two interesting connections Liene the author of the blog Femme au foyer. First off, we both graduated from the same university with the same degree. Secondly, she is the only person who follows me using the blogger member thingy. You can see her over there on the left as my one follower. Most people get here through twitter or google+.
The blog begins as an expat blog in France. Liene has arrived in France with her husband and young son to begin a new life as a femme au foyer, or housewife. She takes great advantage of the time in France. She fills the years with travel, another son, and lots of good learning opportunities. Recently they’ve returned to the US where the blog continues to chronicle the growth of the family and travels.
The biggest props I can give this blog is to say it has stayed as interesting and readable after the return to the US. Many expat blogs either fizzle out or become uninteresting once the return home is made. Liene tends to give us long, well written posts, filled with beautiful pictures that document the latest travel or educational opportunity.
Head on over to Femme au foyer and give it a read. As a bonus you’ll learn a lot about Latvian culture.
About once every couple of years I get the itch to go all minimalist and get rid of loads of things. I have read a few of the books on the subject but have come up with my own way of going about the process. It’s clearly not the best but works for me.
I pick a small area: a closet, a desk, part of a room. I then take everything out of that area and divide it into two piles. In the keep pile goes anything useful, or it can be something I just want to keep for say sentimental reasons. In the go pile goes everything else. The to go pile then gets divided into three piles: trash, donate, sell.
That is not really the interesting part. The interesting part to me is what I find that I decided to keep last time. I always end up wondering, what was I thinking. The one that really perplexed me this time was the ten your old can of spray paint. I’ve moved four times since I bought it and brought it along every time. It’s not even a standard color I would ever use for anything. Also the box for an electronic I disposed of three years ago was a nice find.
I was happy I got to donate a bag full of my really fat clothes. And I never do get around to selling the sell pile. In a year or so I see the stuff and think, oh yeah… never did sell that.
It’s Mothers Day here in the US and I thought I should write something about the most important woman in my life. So about Scarlett Johansson 🙂
Not her. My mom, Mommers. I won’t make this too long. You might not be perfect, but you’ve always been the perfect Mom for me. Seeing the love and perseverance you’ve shown over the last several years has made me appreciate what a wonderful person you are.
Hello computer people. My human name is Jobu. I won’t tell you my secret cat name. My daddy wants me to tell you some stuff about me and how we met. So here I am at the computer thing. I hate the computer thing. Daddy spends too much time on it not paying attention to me. I like to jump up and sit on the keyboard and try and help him but he doesn’t like it.
I don’t remember my mommy or if I had any brothers or sisters. I was found all alone as a small kitteh. It was probably scary but I don’t remember. The people who found me took me to a place that has a whole bunch of animals, not just cats but also doggies and other things.
The people there were really nice. They took care of me and made me healthy and well fed. I was there for a long time. Luckily the nice people let me stay for several months. It wasn’t all bad. I had a nice roommate in my cage and many friends. Sometimes my friends would pick some person out. That person would take them to a forever home. But nobody would take me. I’ve heard that people don’t like to adopt black cats and dogs. That’s racist.
So one day I was sitting in my cage kinda sad and hoping that someday I could have a real home of my own. That’s when my daddy walked in. I like him instantly. He was really nice to all the cats. When he got to me I started licking his hand to mark him as mine. He petted me and I purred like crazy. He had a nice lady get me out of the cage and we went into a room with lots of toys. I ignored the toys and just loved all over him. I was not gonna let this one go. My Daddy then put me back in the cage and went away. I wasn’t sad. I expected him to come back.
My daddy came back the next day. He took me out of the cage and put me in a cat carrier. I was so excited I couldn’t stop meowing. I got a little scared on the car ride home but before I knew it he took me out of the car. He let me out of the carrier. I went from room to room excitedly sniffing everything. It was my new home. It was way bigger than my cage. I was so happy I couldn’t stop purring. I haven’t stopped purring in the 8 years since.
Well I have been awake for almost fifteen minutes so am getting tired. Time for me to go do my favorite thing. Oh and contrary to what you may see on the internet, cats can spell, my daddy not so much.
This one sounded way better in my head. Had trouble finding the right words.
The sky hung low with gray clouds and a soft drizzle soaked the earth below. The weather fit my mood. My heart was heavy with the thoughts of someone I love lying in a hospital.
Most people who know me know I love walking the rain. Give me a nice all day shower and I’ll walk for miles. Usually when I walk I listen to podcasts with headphones stuffed in my ears.
I walk out into the soft rain with my ears filled with talk of the latest tech news. As I get to the corner where the path starts, I pause and take out my headphones. Why don’t I just be here now, I think.
I walk along listening to the rain gently falling. The birds don’t seem to mind the rain as a symphony of bird songs fill my ears.
I come across these petals that only days ago hung with life to the trees.
They are now strewn across the path.
I am reminded of a line from the movie The Last Samurai. “Like these blossoms, we are all dying.” It was not a lament. It was spoken more in wonder. The realization of death was the realization of life. If we are aware that are days are numbered we should live them more fully.
My style of cooking is more art than science. I view recipes as starting points. I like to substitute things and just add in whatever is handy or in season. So I appreciate dishes that make it easy to add ingredients. Pasta salad is one of those dishes.
Some pasta(I used the traditional tri color rontini)
Good Olive Oil
Thyme, basil, oregano
Cook the pasta according to the instructions.
While that cooks we are going to make a standard vinagrette dressing. I make this a lot. It is my go to dressing for almost any salad. A three to one ratio lies at the heart of the vinagrette. You use one part vinegar for each three parts of olive oil. For this I used six tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of vinegar. I add one crushed or finely diced garlic clove per three tablespoons olive oil. So I used two. Then add the thyme, basil, and oregano to taste. I sometimes add the optional step of a quarter teaspoon of sugar per three tablespoons of olive oil. Give it a good whisk to combine everything.
Just dump the done pasta into the bowl with the vinagrette. Now for the add-ons. I went with sun dried tomatoes and sliced black olives because that is what I had in my pantry. All sorts of things work in this though. I’ve used feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, celery, and even some ham. Just use this as an easy way to deal with some old stuff lying around your kitchen.
Oh blogging I love you so. Not really my own blogging attempts because those have been sporadic and unsatisfying. I love blogging because in my mind it is one of the only true social medias. Early entrants into the category of true social media are chat channels, mostly thinking of irc here, and message boards.
This is a post I’ve actually started many times. I have had trouble putting it into words. To be blunt I hate corporate controlled “social media”. In the past whenever someone would mention Facebook my standard comment was “Facebook is teh debil”. Hey I was chatting in irc. Twitter started off nicely but has recently taken a wrong turn.
So what is real social media. It can be directly related to the old irc and message board concept. It’s the internet version of a group of people with a common interest getting together. Imagine having some people over to you house for a get together. You talk about your life, share pictures of the kids, get everyone caught up on what is going on your life. Maybe you sit around the tv and watch a show. There is inherently no difference between that and what is happening on facebook or in the comment section of a blog.
So along comes a man. Let us call him Mack Zinkerburg. So Mr. Zinkerburg builds his own living room. It rather poorly built and kinda confusing, but he invites everybody over to carry on their conversations. For reasons inexplicable to me, loads of people stop by. No Mr. Zinkerburg has not done this out of the goodness of his heart. He wants money. As much money as he can possibly get and he isn’t to scrupulous about how he gets it.
So in this poorly living room he has placed a billion microphones and cameras to capture every piece of information about you he can. He learns every single thing he can about you and all your friends. He then sells that information to someone how then uses that information to try and sell you things. Oh but Mach doesn’t stop there. He lets some people pay him money so they can force their way into your conversation. There you are discussing the latest episode of The Walking Dead and up pops some random stranger trying to sell their walking dead fan fiction. They get to do this because they’ve paid Mack a shiny dollar per person they wish to interrupt.
Surely Mack is done being greedy and controlling. Nope there is more. He decides you don’t really need to hear all that your friends are saying. He starts filtering out your communication. Only half of what you are saying is getting to your friends.
To be serious as a wrap up. I find for profit social media to be offensive and completely unnecessary. I find it offensive because fundamentally I don’t see them as having the right to profit off of information about me. I’ve long thought that personal information(phone number, online searches, etc) should be considered the property of that person. For every dollar google makes of the info they have about me I should get 95 cents. Secondly it is unnecessary. The internet is filled with open free alternatives that foster communication and community without the profit motive or incursions into private information. At its best the internet fosters openness and sharing. It contains the promise to be the democratizer of information and culture, but greed is turning it into a series of the closed gardens were people spend all day trying to figure out how to shove the maximum amount of adds in your face. I guess you can say I am a kinda techno hippie.