Saturday, April 18, 2015

Food and Books

My adventures today were going to an international food fair and the book sale at the library.
I've been looking forward to the International Food Fair for about a year. Last year, my friend and I were going to go, but when the kids on campus rioted they cancelled everything having to do with VEISHEA, and this was one of the events. At that time, I didn't know if they were going to be doing it again. So, this year, when I read on facebook that they're going to do it, I have been impatiently waiting for about a month. Sadly, my friend had to work today, so she did not get to go with me, but I got her some stuff to try.
There were food stalls from African, Asian Pacific, Malaysian, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Pakistan, Sri Lankan, Thai and Vietnamese student groups.
Quite a few years ago, my parents and I did go to this, but it was really crowded and whatever we ate, I guess we decided it wasn't worth the money. Now, that I'm into trying new food, I want to try whatever I can.
Last night, they posted the menu online, so I googled everything, printed out the menu and marked what I wanted to try. I didn't try all that I wanted to, and I found some other stuff to try as well.
So, it's in a giant hall on campus, it was quite a bit less crowded this year, but that could have been because there wasn't VEISHEA, so mostly just people from Ames and surrounding areas.
The things I wanted to try were:

 Lime cake from Africa, I decided not to when I saw it, it looked like plain cake and I thought I might not like lime cake. I don't like lime anyway.
Cek Mek Molek and egg tarts from Malaysia. I did end up trying these and bought more than one. Cek Mek Molek is basically sweet potato deep fried, very good.
Bacon Mashed Potato, Bubble Tea and Sweet Sticky Rice from China. The Bacon Mashed Potatoes weren't anything different, and they were very dry, plus I didn't have a lot of space to mix the bacon into my mashed potatoes. I didn't try the bubble tea, I'm not a big fan of tea, so I decided not to try that. The Sweet Sticky Rice was just that sticky rice with a little bit of sugar on top, I think it would have been better if there was more sugar.
Indian Pokada and Rooh Afza from India. The Indian Pokada is a fried snack, there's looked like onion rings, I did buy these, but then I saw that they were onion, so I gave them to my friend. Rooh Afza was a drink, I'm still not entirely sure what it was, but it was pink and had cinnamon in it. I bought two of them.
Black Rice Porridge from Indonesia. I didn't buy this, for some reason I decided I didn't want stuff I'd have to sit down and eat, and I guess I figured it was like rice pudding which I can get here anyway. Of course, a few of the dishes I did have to sit down and eat, so I'm not that sure why I didn't try it.
Bulgogi from Korea. When I looked at it, I saw it had onions, so I didn't buy it, it looked like beef and onions. I did try their O-Rice though, this was tuna, rice and mayo rolled into a ball. I thought it was rather bland, but I'm going to try and mix more mayo into it, see if that helps anything.
Naan and Lassi from Pakistan. Naan is a flatbread, I was thinking it would be something more. Lassi is a yogurt based drink, I've had Lassi before but I really like it, so I got it again.
That was everything I wanted to try before hand, I did try a drink called tropical twist, but sorta only because I had two tickets left and I was ready to leave.
I bought my friend Chicken Tandori and Indian Pokada from India, Beef Shots from Asia Pacific, and an Egg Tart from Malaysia.
I may have spent a little too much, $3 to get in and $30 on food, but I think it was a good way to try new foods without having to buy a whole dish somewhere, plus part of it was for a friend. I also took along some Ziploc bags to keep some stuff for later, here's what I brought home:
The bread is Naan, the dark balls are Cek Mek Molek, the yellow balls at the top are the Egg Tarts and the white balls are the O-Rice.

My second stop of the day was the book sale at the library, I figured since I was dropping off the food for my friend anyway, I'd stop in at the book sale, plus tomorrow I'd only have 20 minutes to peruse on my break and I have a couple other things to do on my break as well. The semi-annual library book sale is usually an Friday through Monday thing, Friday you can pay money for an early entrance, a lot of people do that. Last night there were so many people with so many boxes and bags full of books, I actually had a dream that there wouldn't be any books when I got there. Saturday is free admission, Sunday is free admission with half-price on everything, and Monday is $1 admission, take as much as you want. I try to go on Sundays, but like I said I have other things to do tomorrow, I decided it was probably a bad idea to go on Monday.
I did a pretty good job of not buying too much, especially since I have a pile of books from another city's book sale from January that I haven't gotten around to reading. Here's what I bought: Heaven's on Earth by Mark Holloway, Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls by Mary Pipher, What Cops Know by Connie Fletcher, Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill by Jessica Stern, Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman, A Window on Main Street: Life above the Corner Drug by Virgil Lagomarcino, and Brothers Blood by Scott Cawelti. All but A window on main street are social science books, I just love reading these.

Now, I'm home and I'm going to jump into some of my books.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hodgepodge

It's time for Wednesday Hodgepodge.


1. Speaking of April 15th...what's the most 'taxing' thing you've done recently?
I find life taxing. I haven't had any really hard struggles, and mostly all the struggles I've had are my own fault, but I don't have any dreams or aspirations or goals. When I was kid I remember of dreaming, but sometime before high school I stopped, and I reverted to one plan. Now, this is not a plan anyone would want me to fulfill, but that's all I thought I would do after I graduated high school. I still hope for this plan, some days more than others, but it's not an acceptable plan to anyone else in the world, so I find life taxing.
2. When did you last take a taxi somewhere and where was that somewhere?
Does the Uber service count? We used a couple of those when we were in Charleston.
3. What's something you can do today that you couldn't do a year ago?
I don't think there's anything vastly different in my life than a year ago. I got a year older, but it doesn't signify anything. My job is different, but there's nothing more I can do that I couldn't do a year ago.
4. How often is chicken (in some form or fashion) on your menu at home? Which of the following would you most like to see on your table tonight...a chicken salad sandwich, your mom's fried chicken, a Chick-fil-A meal, Cracker Barrel's chicken n' dumplings, a roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings, or 'hold the chicken, I'm a vegetarian'...?
Chicken is served a lot at my home. I'm very into frozen dinners and chicken is in a lot of them. I would love to have a chicken salad sandwich, that sounds wonderful.
5. What was your favorite television program when you were a kid? What characters do you remember the most?
Funny question. A couple weeks ago, I found my recorded vhs off of TV and have been going through them. A lot of them were cop programs, which is still what I'm interested in now, I remember begging my parents to let me stay up and watch NYPD Blue on Tuesday nights, but they always said it was too violent. I still love a very violent TV/movie.
One of the TV shows I loved when I was a smaller child, would be Fraggle Rock, I have the theme song on my MP3 player and I can still remember the opening credits, a few years ago I found a Fraggle Rock puppet and had to buy it.
 6. What was the last piece of 'art' you made?
I haven't had a lot of inspiration lately. I did create a couple of Easter baskets for friends, but I think the coolest things I made/altered lately were some Altoid tins:
 I have been altering Altoids tins lately, it's been a little addicting to create these little boxes for people.
The first two are for Random Acts of Kindness I had signed up with last year. One was for Kathy at kluless:
I covered the outside with dictionary paper, added some lace to the sides and added burlap, canvas and some vintage buttons to the top.
 Inside I glued some vintage trim and filled it with buttons, she is a fellow button collector.
I added a little piece of ephemera to the back.
This second one was for Kathy at ma vie trouvee, I went with bright colors and the theme of the Chinese New Year, the Ram:
 I covered the top with a piece of silver paper and a very colorful motif. I painted the sides with a bright green.
 Inside I covered it with dictionary paper, added a colorful ram stamp and the words "the year of the ram" on orange ribbon. The bottom is covered with green paper and three ram stamps.
 On the back, I added another ram stamp.
These next two were for friends birthdays.
This friend likes purple, so I went with purple.
 The box is covered in dictionary paper, on the lid I attached a purple butterfly and some flowers. The edge has some ribbon and faux pearls.
 Inside I went with the butterfly theme and purple flowers on the underside of the lid. The butterfly on the bottom is actually a mesh pendant that I painted with puff paint, I also added some dogwood flowers with accents of yellow puff paint.
 On the bottom is another purple butterfly.
This last one was for a friend that likes birds and the color blue.
 Again, I covered the box with dictionary paper I also added a blue shiny bird.
 Inside there are a few 3D birds and then some blue marbled paper and a couple pieces of ephemera.
On the back, I added a kingfisher stamp.
7. What frustrates you most about the Internet?
People, mostly that they seem to post things without thinking those things will be there forever. That certain things hurt others and you can't really figure out tone of conversations.
8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I have a job evaluation tomorrow (Wed), I'm not really worried, I'm just not sure what to expect. Every time I've had one of these, it's been a different boss, same place of work. I'm just not sure what to expect, but as far as I know, my boss likes me, she hasn't really brought up anything bad in the almost year she's been my boss, so I'm not really worried.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Interesting snacks

A week or so ago, I ordered a box from Freedom Japanese Market. They have boxes of snacks only sold in Japan, you can choose to get a subscription that comes every month for $25 or a one time only box for $27. I decided to do the one time only box because I don't have that much money to spend on a box of treats every month.
I got my box last Friday, here's what it looked like:
There is an informational sheet included to tell you what everything is.
 And here's what was inside:
 Starting at the top and going clockwise (from my informational sheet): Kaki Wasabi, a great mix of peanuts and crunchy crackers with a strong wasabi flavor; NeruNeru NeruNe!, this much requested DIY candy is back, easy to make and fun to eat, share your finished snacks and creations with us; Caramel Corn (Peach), crispy corn, wheat and soybean four curls with a light peach flavor, the package resembles a hina-matsuri (Girl's Day) doll; and Pretz, roasted, flaky pastry snacks in a sugar glaze.
 Starting at the top and going clockwise: Rilakkuma Soft Sen (rice crackers), lightly salted senbei (rice crackers) shaped like the characters on the package; Yuki no Yado, frosted and lightly sweetened rice crackers; Sono Manma Cola Gum, cola flavored gum that contains three pieces - one of them has a surprise super sour filling; Kuki Wakame (sour plum), keep an open mind and try some of these pickled seaweed sticks - one of our favorite snakcs; Hi-Chew, chewy fruit flavored treats; Umaibo, back by popular demand - these snacks are a fan favorite; and Lemon mini bottle, pour the granular contents of the bottle directly into your mouth for a fruity and tart treat;
I tried the wasabi flavored pack on my own and have decided I really don't like wasabi flavored items. The rest I took to my friend's house and we had a little tasting party. We started with the NeruNeru NeruNe!, when I opened the package there was a white part to hold it, and three bags, going by the pictures on the back I mixed water with two of the packets that had white powder in them. First it smelled strongly of grape, then turned pink:
 The third bag had these colored sugar crystals in it. The paste part was very sweet, the pictures on the pack showed the spoon with the pink and then dipped in the crystals.
 The paste was very sour, the crystals kinda made it less sour, but not much. I didn't think it was very good.
Next we tried the caramel corn, peach flavored:
 I really liked these, they're very good. They kinda reminded me of the cheese puffs in consistency, but the taste was really good.

Next we opened the Umaibo:
 They looked like big cheese puff sticks, they were hollow in the middle. I found the taste very strange, my friend said one was beef tongue, the other had a robot dog on the front and we couldn't figure out what the taste was supposed to be, but decided there was a pork flavoring in it.
Next we tried the Rilakkuma Soft Sen:
 Sadly, I had forgotten the description sheet at home, and mis remembered the description for these, I thought they were slightly sweetened, not salted. So, we were a little disappointed in these, they were also very bland.
Next up was the Yuki no Yade:
I liked this one, the white blobs on top are sweet, the cracker underneath was salty, it was a good combination.
Neither of us liked the pickled seaweed, but to be fair, I don't like seaweed or things that are pickled, so I didn't think I'd like it either. I was a little disappointed in the lemon mini bottle, because the description sheet had a strawberry one and I would have liked that better than lemon. I've had Hi-Chew before, so I haven't eaten that yet. I really liked the Pretz, they reminded me of sweet breadsticks.
I tried the Sono Manma Cola Gum myself, my friend doesn't like cola flavored things.
The taste didn't last very long, but it made very good bubbles.

I was hoping for more sweet items, there were more salty things than I really wanted, but it was nice to try it out. I might buy another one in the future. I had heard of this company from another blog I read, and have been wanting to try it for awhile, but was a little put off at the fact that I had to get a subscription, I was happy when I saw the one time only box.
I thought it was nice to try the sweets. I've been trying to try new things lately, I've visited all of our Asian food stores, a Middle Eastern food store and I'm going to an International Food Fair next Sat. I really like trying different country foods.

Nothing


I was talking with my co-worker today about life. I was saying how I needed another job and she was mentioning when she had two jobs she was tired all the time, I said I didn’t care about that, I just needed money. She asked if I had graduated college (I have) and if I ever wanted to move away from here. I told her I didn’t want to move out of my comfort level, but that’s not the whole story, basically I am where I am because I don’t care. Some days I feel like I’m just going through the motions, I work because I need the money. I don’t have any aspirations or dreams or goals. I just don’t care. I guess there are moments like when I helped a patron the other day to navigate the bus system to get where she was going, I feel a sense of pride when I do that, but those times seem very few and far between and even though I know people are grateful for my help, I’m sure they forget about me once they’ve gotten what they need.

I used to want to create art for a living, I know I’m good at it, but lately, I don’t create anything unless I need to. For a swap, or a birthday, or a holiday coming up. I just don’t have anything to make me want to create anymore.

I like being at work, because I’m not in my head, I have to focus on work, but I find myself getting more annoyed with co-workers and things that they do lately, or things that they don’t do. I feel bored a lot at home because I don’t have anything to stretch my mind.

My mother asked if I had any plans for the summer the other day, and I said no, and then she asked what some exciting plans would be and I didn’t have an answer. I do want to try new things, but there’s not much exciting here. I am going to an international food fair next week, but after that, there’s nothing around here to do. There’s nothing that really makes me very happy lately.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Alligators and beer

It's Hodgepodge time again.



1. Besides left over Easter goodies, what's something currently kept in a basket at your house?
I don't use baskets for things.

2. 'The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.' ~Michelangelo Buonarroti )
 So which one are you...the one who aims too high, or the one who aims too low? Have you ever seen The Sistine Chapel? Did you know Michelangelo's surname prior to answering this question?
I probably aim too low, I don't push myself. I did know that.

 3. April 7th is National Beer Day. Hmmm...wonder how that's celebrated? Do you like beer? Have a favorite? If you're not a beer drinker do you have any recipes you enjoy cooking that call for beer?
I don't drink beer, or use beer for anything.

4. When did you last travel somewhere new? Tell us where? How'd it go?
My family and I went to Charleston for Christmas. It was fun, but I wouldn't suggest going on vacation during the big holidays, we lost two days to do stuff because places were closed, or closed early. I also didn't understand why we had to hang out with my brother's girlfriend's parents the whole time we were there.
 The pineapple fountain
 The bridge
An alligator

 5. The value of _________________________is greatly overrated.
TV. I take a lot of surveys and they just can't understand that I don't watch TV, people also get bothered when I tell them I don't watch TV. I recently found my rabbit ears the other day, and that surprised a bunch of people too.

 6. What's a pet peeve of yours when it comes to restaurant dining?
This is not specific to restaurant dining, but I hate that people can't put down their phones when we get together. My brother used to always be checking his phone and my mother would complain, now that she's got a smart phone she does the exact same thing. I think if you're going out to dinner or spending time with someone, you shouldn't be checking your phone all the time.

 7. It's Poetry Month...share a favorite poem, either the title, a few lines you find meaningful, or the
whole kit and caboodle.

Push me
Pry me
Pull me
Anyway you please
I want to fly
I want to run
I want to leave
Free me please
 
8. Insert your own random thought here.
I'm craving some really good chocolate and since it's after Easter, I thought I'd go and see if any is on sale at stores. I'm kinda having my doubts as I couldn't get excited for any before Easter, but here's hoping.

Monday, April 06, 2015

New finds

It's starting to be warmer lately. Last Saturday, my mother and I went to lunch and did some shopping. I know these are horrible pictures but I will update with better pictures soon. Here's what I picked up: a tiny nest for my aunt, a cute spider for a friend, an owl and a star for me.
 a tiny nest for my aunt, a cute spider for a friend, an owl and a star for me.
 A neat ornament and burlap bird for me, a reindeer ornament for my brother.
I also picked up a jar of jewelry, here are my favorites:
  I put some of these items in my Easter basket.
 
 
Yesterday, my dad and I went to the local Eco fair, that basically informs people about things that eco friendly, a couple of the freebies I picked up:
 a notepad, koozie, cup, bag, flashlight, pencil sharpener, pencil and pen. Apparently the color of the day was green.

I hope everyone had a good Easter, I found mine to be less than exciting. I've been putting my own Easter basket for awhile (mostly after I bought this basket a few years ago), and I realized the other day, it's just not as fun when nothing's a surprise in it.
 Inside:
 A minion cup, the burlap bird, star and owl ornament I bought last week, a bunny 'egg', a bunny figurine, tiny bunny button leprechaun pin and BINGO book I bought a few weeks ago at the antique mall. I'm hoping to create a glue book with the BINGO book.
And the yummies:
Ferrero Roche eggs, a Lindt truffle, some random chocolate and some peanut brittle balls.
My mother did buy me a jar of buttons,

some shoes
 and some chocolate.
 

We went to brunch at a local restaurant, but that was about all we did. After brunch, we went back to my parents condo so I could see my mother's bunnies (which she hasn't had out in years) and open my Easter basket. It was nice to get some interesting buttons, but when I opened the jar it smelled strongly like vinegar, I think it was from the breaking down of some of the plastic buttons.
Nothing was very exciting, but then I don't know what would be exciting these days.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

It's April

I'm hoping that brings more exciting things. Everything seems boring to me lately, the movies and books I get from the library, making art, anything I try to do around here. I've noticed when I drop into these depressions, I spend more money, thankfully I have a little extra money from my tax return, but I really need to get back to not spending money. I have been spending too much to get that instant gratification lately, of course I've also had a hard time finding things that are exciting enough to spend my money on too, mostly material things, I have no problem spending on food.
I saw online an ad for a garage sale this Sat, I'm thinking I'll go check it out, see if there's anything I want. I did pick up a bag of trims from someone yesterday, they are very cute though I don't know what I'll do with them and I certainly don't need more. I have decided on what I'm allowed to buy at garage sales this year: I'm still looking for a couple sizes of Pyrex bowls, I don't care too much about the condition they're in, they're just nice sizes. I'm allowed to look at vintage trim and buttons, I love buttons. I'm allowed to buy jewelry if it's $1 each or less. I don't know what else I'm allowed to buy, but I hope to ponder about things before I decide to buy them. I feel I have less things than I did last year because of down sizing, but I still have waay too much stuff.
One of the ways I'm slowly getting rid of stuff is giving it to friends for gifts. I have two people I put together Easter baskets for, and other than the chocolate, I only bought one thing for them.
I created an Easter basket for myself as well, but it's not near as fun because I know what's in it.

I found a box of VHS tapes with stuff recorded off TV the other day, I've been going through them and finding some great older TV shows: New York Undercover (some of those I'm keeping), ER (totally keeping those), That's Life (nope), Pacific Blue (I have all the seasons on DVD, so not keeping them), Pensacola: Wings of Gold (yes, depends on the episode), Third Watch (yes), The Huntress (only if it's a good episode), Cover Me (most likely not), and various other ones that are still on TV. I've also found quite a few movies taped off TV that I now own on DVD. I have a working VCR, so I can keep them, but I've realized how bad the quality of these tapes are, especially after years of watching them, and re taping over them. One was in black and white and the clarity was horrible. I also found it funny, some of the stuff I was keeping, I'd accidentally tape over the end of it, oops. Oh, well, it's been fun to go back through it.

It's been really nice weather wise lately. Yesterday we had our second day in the 80's. Of course with it being so warm, I'm hoping my landlords will get an AC check done soon. I'm not really interested in turning on my AC until later in the year, but it would be nice for these days when it's 75 in my apt.

I'm getting tired of the state of my apartment, it's not bad, but it's getting cluttered and messy again. I guess it's time for a little spring cleaning. It's weird, my messiness never bothered me before, but now when I have to jump over things to walk through my apt, I'm getting annoyed and having a clean counter is really nice.
I'm making lemon cheesecake for Easter. My parents and I are getting together for brunch, I'm not sure of the rest of our plans, but before my mother decided she didn't want to get together with the extended family, I said I'd make cheesecake, and now she really wants cheesecake. Plus, I put together an Easter basket for her as well.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Running errands

I've been shopping. I have been trying to fill Easter baskets, but I can't find much to spend my money on lately (that's not always a bad thing). I have my basket, a couple friends and one for my mother.
Last week I decided it was warm enough to visit some stores and see if I could find anything good.
First stop was Target, but I talked myself out of what I had in my basket there. Walmart is a couple blocks from Target, so I try to go to both when I get down there. I found a few things at Walmart:
 Some cute Easter erasers, Ferrero eggs and chocolate covered pretzels. The pretzels were for me. The rest made it into baskets.
Next was Dollar Tree, I mostly just picked up necessities there, after that it was Hobby Lobby where I spent most of my money on stuff that was on clearance:
 The minion cup is from the dollar store, that went in my Easter basket. The flower had a few tiny chips on it, I figured it might be good for a gift someday. The flower child I originally bought it for my mother, but I think I've fallen in love with it. The confetti went into Easter baskets, it has cute little hedgehogs, owls and foxes.
Next I stopped at HyVee, because someone was saying how good Ben & Jerry's Tonight Dough ice cream was, sadly I didn't stop at just that:
 I bought my regular favorite of Chubby Hubby and a pint of pistachio. Lately, I've noticed the ice cream tastes different and not in a good way. I was very disappointed in the pistachio and have decided to spend my money on Blue Bunny in the future. I get more for less money, so why not. I am a bit sad to let go of Ben & Jerry's though.

This week, my mother and I went to an antique store in a couple towns north of us. It's pretty big, and was having a spring break sale, but I only found three things to buy (I'm sorry it's not a very good picture):
 A spiral bound book made from a BINGO card, a leprechaun pin and a bunny button. They all went into my Easter basket.

Today, my friend and I headed west and went to a few other culture grocery stores to get something interesting. First stop was an Asian store:
 Ramune drink, I've seen people try this on YouTube and have wanted to try it. It was ok, it reminded me of Sprite with a little fruit, not the greatest, but I'm glad I got to try it. Taro flavored soft rice cakes, I wasn't too impressed with these. I love the taste of taro (I believe it's a root vegetable and it's pretty sweet), but these didn't have much taste and they were very sticky. Melon Milk drink, I haven't tried this yet, I was really thirsty this morning. Vegetable cake, which I didn't see was vegetable, I thought it was just a piece of bread. It was pretty good, the inside kinda reminded me of an egg roll, so I warmed it up and had it for lunch. The last item is a cream cake, I believe it has some kind of cream in it. I tasted a little bit of it and the outside kinda tastes like a croissant.
I did find a bag of green tea Kit Kats, but they were about $8 for a bag, and it felt like not a ton in the bag, so we decided we could get them cheaper online, but it's nice to know there's some here if I want them.
Next stop was a middle eastern grocery store, we had both been there so it wasn't as fun as the Asian food store that we hadn't been to, but they still have yummy items.
 I picked up some cookies with hazelnut cream in them and peanut brittle balls. The peanut brittle balls went into my Easter basket.
I've been trying to try new foods lately. When we went to S. Carolina I tried to get food that I couldn't get here, and now I'm trying to visit all the different food stores we have, plus there's an international food fair coming up in April that I'm going to. I think I'm just sick of having all the same boring stuff, and food is something you don't really acquire, so I want to spend money on it.
On my way home I walked past a store that had some gorgeous scarves for sale and bought one for my mother:
I think she'll like it.