Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cinnamon Roll Adventure

My granddaughter found a hot roll mix in my cupboard and has been wanting to make cinnamon rolls ever since. Making bread, even from a mix, does take some time. We got it done today.

She had done a science fair exhibit with yeast, but this is her first experience with using yeast for its usual function. I was dubious for the mix we were using was about 4 months past the use date. I warmed the oven a bit to give the yeast its best chance to do its thing. We ended up with some very good cinnamon rolls. This is not exactly "cooking from scratch," but is more like home-cooking that having them come out the cinnamon roll carton!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Laundry Adventures

Why a picture of me? To prove my camera still works. I put some clothing in the washing machine and soon I was hearing clunk, clunk. I tried to figure out what I had put in the machine that didn't belong there. Finally it came to me that it was probably the camera. OK here's the test. I got this camera because it is supposed to withstand water to the depth of 10 meters. Will it work? Thankfully the battery was elsewhere at this time. When I could rescue the camera from the washing machine, I opened it and removed the disk. I left everything to dry for several hours, put it altogether, and found everything worked, including the pictures that were on the disk. I took a picture into a mirror to prove it still works. Now Fugi should definitely contact me to pay me for such an endorsement of this project.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Culture Shock in the USA

Today I made a trip to Target to get things such as hand soap for the sinks, more laundry detergent, and things like that. This is really my first shopping trip such as this after coming back from Hungary, so that means the first time in about 9 months. Boy! has everything changed. I couldn't find the soap refill I wanted for the bathroom, the laundry detergent products are different, the graphical colors are so different. I needed shampoo and couldn't find anything I wanted -- it would have been so easy at the DM in Pecs!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

11 and 14 going on 20

I have been trying to keep track of my two older grandchildren while there Mom works a daycare job from 6 AM - 3 PM. They are old enough to take care of themselves and also old enough to get into trouble! And at home the main entertainment seems to be Cartoon Network.

They were really squirmy today, just couldn't settle down to much of any activity. We walked down to the nearby playground area to hopefully see some of the energy run off. I'm surprised my granddaughter still likes this activity, but she spends her time trying to remember some of the skills she learned at Circus Camp a few years ago.
This is rather the same picture, but from a different angle. If one looks carefully at the right center area, there is the Mississippi River flowing by. This is really a magical place to live. And today, the temperature was in the low 70s (maybe 22 for those of  you in Europe). Perfect day. I heard later on the TV that this was the coolest day since June 14, and I wasn't here for that day. I think it was right about then that I was 40 on the thermometer in Kaposvar!

Sometimes these kids act like they are five years old, with all the hitting and pushing and teasing. And then other times, it's like they are 20.

Here is my grandson downstairs in the Cyber Cafe making himself a cup of coffee. He sat down at a table, crossed his legs, and said, "Now this would be perfect if there was some jazz."

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wine Tasting

One of my faculty colleagues thought we should start the academic year off with some fun. She arranged for us to have a wine tasting. (We did this after our work day closed. No tax money spent on this. Rather for anything we bought, we paid tax just like anyone else!).

We were given a glass of wine when we arrived and then walked to a nearby area to see how the grapes are managed. We all liked the wine we started with -- Frontenac Gris. This grape is one that has been bred to survive the Minnesota winters. It is a mutation of the Frontenac Red.

Our guide did a very nice job explaining all the work it takes to first grow the vines, and then have them produce grapes, and then the work of the grape harvest. Wine won't seem so expensive to me now!

Then we went back into the buildings to learn about the fermentation processes. This is a crusher that is not used often anymore, but it is more interesting than plastic tanks! After following the grapes from crushing to when wine appears in a bottle, we returned to the show room for a tasting of many different kinds of wine. I'll definitely go back. This group is making very good wine.

After the wine tasting, we drove into Stillwater and had dinner at the Kitchen Restaurant. The food here was very good. Of course, we were given one check and then it took forever to work out the check!

Boat on St. Croix River
When I was walking back to my car, I saw the nice scene. The St. Croix River forms the boundary between Minnesota and Wisconsin. It enters the Mississippi River about 40 miles south of Stillwater. It is quite a larger river here. Many times I've been on planes making a landing from the east into the airport, and when we go over this river, many people oh and ah over the Mississippi, not knowing it is really the St. Croix River!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sheer Luck

Taking excellent photos is a hard job. I've learned that by having friends who are professional. Yesterday I went for a walk and got a nice photo by sheer luck.

This is shadow of the High Bridge over the Mississippi River. I have taken photos of reflection bridges, but this the first time I've seen a shadow and also got the picture. Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Can't Get Lost!

There is a park with equipment for young children up the street from my apartment. Something new has been added since last summer.

Last summer there was a pond of water collecting in a very wrong place. The construction fairies have added stairs and a rotunda. The rotunda has the longitude and latitude of the space. So I can't get lost. Turns out I'm south of Pecs by a bit, and way south of the locations that I go to in Poland. So why is it colder in the winter? Well I know. We are too far from any body of water to mediate the weather -- us and Siberia, too far from an ocean.

Polish Festival Adventure

Social networking is wonderful. I would never have known about this had it not shown up on my Facebook page connected to the title, Polish. I wandered over to Minneapolis yesterday to find the Polish Festival.

I arrived at lunch time so the first order of business was getting something to eat.
 I chose potato and cheese pierogies and a pascki.  I sat down at a table to eat, knowing no one at a the table. A man asked me what kind of pierogies and when I told him, he said, "Well, you know they are supposed to have sauerkraut in them." I told him I had eaten pierogies just like these in Poland many times. When I went on to describe the marvelous plum pierogies I had eaten at the B&B in Kieslany in 2009, the people looked at me as if I had arrived from Mars.

I noticed the "dance "lessons being offered were for the polka. I remarked that one didn't see the polka in Poland. That was also an amazing statement. I began to understand I knew about Polish culture from having been in Poland, while these people knew about Polish culture from what they remembered from their grandparents. How the polka became so attached to Polish-American culture is a mystery to me. I have seem Americans in Poland react to the fact that bands there will not play a polka with equal amazement, and one unfortunately even stomped off in a temper tantrum because the band didn't play polkas. (That's when one wants to curl up and not be noticed as an American!)

My viewpoint about pierogies was vindicated when I got to the Zupa cookbook and turned to the back and found many different kind of pieorgie recipes. Pieorgies are only limited by the imagination! 

My friends in Poland have told me that we can buy Polish pottery in versions never seen in Poland. I think I found something not sold in Poland.

I was rather amazed to see dog dishes! This booth had many patterns in dishes that were new to me as well, but my cupboards are about as full of Polish pottery as is possible in a small apartment.

All of this was taking place on the banks of the Mississippi River. No mistaking this for the Vistula. I've never seen a place where the Vistula looks this wild, let alone this wild in the middle of a city.

Across the street there was a wonderful exhibit centered on Katyn. This exhibit has been many places in the United States including in the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. I enjoyed seeing it and it made me feel for a few minutes like I was back in Europe again. The display style was European rather than American.

When I got back outside, all I could hear from both entertainment stages was polka music, so I wandered back to the car and headed home.

It is surely ethnic festival time here. Across the river from the apartment is a huge Irish festival. And on the way home yesterday I encountered signs directing me to the Igbo Festival.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Wonderful and the Mundane

First the mundane. I managed to launder my car key apparatus. I had a spare and have been using that. However, I had this one in my bag for it also has my library key card on the ring. Today I grabbed for it by mistake and lo and behold! It works. I thought the battery would be killed for sure, but it opened the locks on the car just fine. What a surprise.

Now for the wonderful. I was on the couch this afternoon, just staring out the window at the somewhat stormy clouds. I saw an eagle circling. It managed to entertain me for almost 10 minutes. One thing that's right with the world is that the river is becoming cleaner and cleaner and the pesticides are coming out of the environment and the eagles are doing better and better! 
Publish Post

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Adventure Outside the Window

So my older daughter and I are having a quiet Saturday afternoon, when suddenly I see something strange outside the window.

What is the blue hose outside the window? Investigation revealed it was coming from the apartment above and attached to a carpet cleaning van on the ground. Oh, that's how it's done. Since I will be staying another year I can have my carpets cleaned sometime. I'm going to wait until sometime about a year from now. I've not lived in this apartment very long considering in Hungary for a long time. And I have a granddaughter who is now 14 months old. I'll wait until after events such as Thanksgiving and Christmas for those seem like times that might end up with a little girl accident of some sort.

So chalk this up with an observation of the mundane.