Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday Memories: "The Goal is between the Flip Flop and the Backpack"

family fun at the beach!
We are far from the most athletic of clans, but we make up in enthusiasm what we lack in regard for the rules. Sportsmanship is not our strong point. Most games end in all of us collapsing on the sand, out of breath, vigorously contesting which side claimed victory (and frequently, even at the very end of the game, still discussing who is on which team). Some members of the family seem to think you can compensate skill with rigorous debate. I belong in this camp. My motto is:  you can cheat, foul, yell, pull shirts and trip ankles, just as long as you're pulling off an adorable orange blouse while you do it! 

In this photo, my father is failing to catch, my sister is failing to block him, my cousin is failing to care, my mother and aunt are failing to participate and my grandma is just hangin' out in the middle. I may suck at sports, but it must be because an apple does not fall far from the tree. And amen to that, because I wouldn't give up this crazy clan or my genetically predetermined two left feet for anything!
Look up at the Sky!


PS. Hanging out with the same crew at the lake, in a restaurant, and around the pool, way back in the day.

PPS. Another picnic at a California beach!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday Memories: Swimming in Chapada Diamantina

loving Brazil: a refreshing swim at the end of hike!

Really, is anything more delightful than a quick swim in cold water on the stickiest and sweatiest of summer days? I think not. Right now we're enjoying lukewarm sunshine and those first trickles of warmth but pretty soon August will be roasting us alive in our own skin and I for one cannot wait! I loved running through sprinklers during hot summers as a kid and I love jumping into cool lakes now that I'm (kind of) grown up

Mom and Zelda
This picture was taken on a family vacation to Brazil a few years ago. One of the highlights of our trip was the Chapada Diamantina National Park. Here, we were at the end of a long, hot, but breathtakingly beautiful hike that lead us to a lovely waterfall and this natural pool. Of course all four of us had to hop in!  It was sooooo refreshing and--once the water-tag started--so much fun!

Look up at the Sky!


PS. Monday Memories of hiking in Costa Rica, a romantic weekend in Lausanne, Switzerland, and skiing in the alps with friends or just with Karl!


Friday, March 20, 2015

Five Favorites: Post-Exam-Elation!

last lecture of the semester!

It over! Today is the last day of this semester and my last exam is behind me.  Without diminishing or disrespecting the civil rights movement in any way, I would like to sing out: free at last, free at last, thank God almighty I'm free at last! Thanks for bearing with me during my moments of frustration and complaining. Those last few weeks felt like a sprint at the end of a marathon, but all went well and now....

Well. Now....what? The end of the semester always feels a little anticlimactic. Yes, we go out to celebrate but sometimes crossing the finish line still feels like deflating a balloon. So in an effort to really savor the moment, here are five totally trivial things I will especially enjoy doing again now that these exams are over.

1. Doing Laundry. ie, wearing clothes that are truly clean and not some acceptable approximation of the concept.  I have to say, Karl has been a hero on the home front,  keeping the fridge full, the dishes washed, and the laundry basket below overflowing level while I've been buried behind textbooks. Still, the prospect of extending my wardrobe beyond those last-choice-everything-else-is-dirty options will be a joy.

2. Get moving. While I generally try to squeeze a healthy amount of exercise into an average week, I have to admit it's the first thing that goes when I get busy. I insist on walking/biking to school or the library so that I'm active and out in the fresh air at least twice a day, but I'm excited to really get my sweat on and see how my badly-neglected body does after these weeks at a desk (often slumped over. Sorry,  lower back!)

3. Binge watch shows. Don't even tell me what Olivia Pope is up to right now. Seriously. No spoilers.

4. Cooking and eating something that takes more than 10 minutes to make.  Unlike the early years of medical school, I still eat pretty healthy during exam time, but usually it's something veggy and bulgar/quinoa-y that can be thrown together super quickly. I made the mistake of bringing these delicious cookies with me to the library a few weeks ago and Sophie and I cajoled the guys into baking these amazing brownies for us -- on two different occasions. But other than that, I've been good about eating right lately, despite exam stress. I'm so happy with myself about this -- mens sana in corpore sano, and I feel much better during those marathon study sessions when my body is fueled by real food and not bloated from a salt-and-vinegar-chips binge.

5. Catch up on news. I didn't even know there was a solar eclipse today until it was too late -- that's how out of the loop I am. I can't wait to sit down with my laptop and find out what has been going on in the world since I went into library hibernation. Israeli elections? Some kind of magical, color-changing dress? I am waaaay behind right now!

Look up at the Sky!


PS. Five Favorite ways to welcome spring, things about my birthday, and romantic movies!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Monday Memories: Childhood Monopoly Games

Playing monopoly in our pajamas!

I love this old photo of my friend Sam and me playing Monopoly in our PJs. We have been friends since before either of us can remember, and our younger sibling are perfectly age-matched too (well planned, parents). We were so sad when our family moved to Berlin and they stayed in New York City, but every now and then one of us flies over the pond for a visit.  On these occasions, we kids used to play a single monopoly game for four or five days straight. The younger kids dropped out after a couple hours (lightweights), but Sam and I played on and on, each with about equal properties values and no intention to quit. If fact, I distinctly remember him bailing me out with a cash infusion when money got tight on my side of the board. Of course, our parents still had activities and sightseeing scheduled for us, so we always woke up extra early to squeeze in a round before breakfast. Ah, to be a kid again....

Look up at the Sky!


PS. Sorry for the bad quality of the photo, it's one of those real physical printed ones that you had to pay to get developed way back in the day.

PPS.  Monopoly continues to be one of my favorites...check out my top five games here!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Five Favorites: Welcoming Spring

Berlin, decked out in springtime!

There's a freshness in the air around me and I've already felt a couple rays of sunshine soaking the vitamin D back into my friends, I do believe spring is right around the corner!

In light of all the complaining I did about this long, long winter, I think it's time to be a little more positive and at least enjoy that it's finally ending. Truthfully, it wasn't all cold and rainy and depressing: I loved skiing in the alps, celebrating valentine's day and my birthday, baking up a storm, and spending those long winter evenings having fun with friends.  Actually, when I write it out like that, counting my blessings like ducks in a row, I kind of hate myself for all the moaning and groaning. What are a few frozen toes when life is as lovely as this?!

So now, I'm going to be carpe diem-ing it up a little more.  Here are my favorite "firsts" for spring.

1. The first time you're outside and realize your jacket is way to warm and have to take it off.  Such a little thing, so much joy. This happened two days ago and I swear I was walking down the street wearing a sweater and the hugest of smiles!

2. The first time you wake up on a weekday and it's light outside.  Okay, nature get's a little help from daylight saving time with that one, but still, how good does it feel to get up when it's not pitch black?

3. The first time you voluntarily spend more time outside than necessary. I took the long way to the supermarket the other day, just to enjoy the sunshine a little longer. I haven't taken the long way since October! It's a whole 'nother twenty minutes!  Whoohoo!

4. The first ice cream cone.  Woah, I might be getting ahead of myself here. I haven't crossed this milestone yet but it won't be long now and I can't wait.  It's going to be chocolate all the way!

5. The first time you leave the house in ballerinas instead of boots.  Summer clothes! Skirts and dresses and bare legs!  I tried to explain to Karl how amazing it's going to be to just throw on a summer dress and flip flops and go. He didn't get it at all. Is it just a girl thing to get excited to bust out some summer outfits again?

Zelda in Sicily last summer
Here's Zelda last summer in Sicily, rocking the summer look. At least my sister will always get me, even if the prospect of shorts doesn't exhilarate the boy in my life quite as much as it does me. Sisters always understand!


Look up at the Sky!


PS. Five favorite ways to procrastinate and ways to save!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wednesday Waffles

Waffles slathered in homemade apple sauce with dots of raspberry jam...yum!
Wednesday Morning
Wednesdays this semester are wonderful. It's the only day in the week that the alarm doesn't go off at some ungodly hour...we don't have class till the afternoon, and boy, do we love it!  This morning, Karl and I woke up and stumbled out of bed to the intoxicating smell of: waffles! My roommate Sophie had woken up earlier and there she was, all sleepy and pajama-clad, spooning batter into our trusty old waffle iron and producing these disks of bliss (okay, I may be exaggerating now, when when they're piling up and you're hungry, boy, do those puppies look good!) 
Homemade Apple Sauce

She and Pete (her BF, Hong Kong born, Florida raised) had even decked the table, including the homemade apple sauce and her mom's delicious homemade jams. Something about a lit candle at breakfast makes the occasion feel so festive! 

Needless to say, everything was delicious. We had just made some apple sauce the day before out of some no-longer-perfect apples we had lying around. There's no recipe for this: just peel and core and cover in some water. Boil until they're soft and mash mash mash. We don't add sugar (or cinnamon, or cloves, or anything) and it tastes perfect just the way it is!

This is our recipe for waffles:

100 g butter, softened (a little less than half a cup)
60g sugar (that's 1/3 cup or 4 Tablespoons)
300g flour (2 1/2 cups)
3 eggs
375ml milk (1 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
a dash of vanilla

Beat the butter with sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt and alternate adding milk and flour mixture to the batter, mix until smoothly combined.  Easy peasy!

Spoon a ladle-ful of batter into a pre-greased waffle iron and wait impatiently until each waffle turns golden brown. Yum!

Leftover "ich liebe dich" (I love you) cupcake!
And for dessert, the last of the valentine's day cupcakes (they froze surprisingly well!) Thank you, Karl, for dreaming up such a cute and long-lasting surprise.

Look up at the Sky!


PS. The last time we had waffles 

PPS. Who's who? The Boyfriend/Roommate situation explained.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Monday Memories: Picnic in California

Family picnic at the beach (those not pictured are off treasure hunting for sea glass and shells!)
Today I had two exams back to back and they are going to keep on coming. One last two-week sprint, and the semester is behind me! 

All this studying and stressing and stupid, stupid procrastination is taking it's toll, and what I need now is a little sunshine. One of those special memories you can keep tucked away, only to be unfolded every now and then, when you really need it.  Just pressing away the well-worn creases and drawing strength from the remembrance of happy times. 

Part of my family lives in California and whenever we are visiting we always make time for a visit to my favorite beach in the world for a bagel picnic by the sea. I love those long, lazy afternoons, all of us hanging out together, eating on a blanket spread on the sand and then dispersing for naps, walks, and beach-treasure-hunting.

I just booked flights for a visit to the Bay Area this spring and I can't wait to head to the ocean and feel the sand squidge between my toes and that salty spray on my face. Here's to getting through the next couple weeks!

Look up at the Sky!


PS. Memories of a ski trip with Karl, playing "Who am I?", having some summer fun at the lake, a romantic weekend in Lausanne, and last year skiing with friends!