31 March 2008

I can't help posting this one picture of our little boy on his blessing day a couple of weeks ago. How did we ever manage to wait seven years for this?

27 March 2008

Brown Ghee

I let my ghee sit too long on the stove and now it's brown instead of yellow. But it looks like I can still use to to fry some tasty little flatbreads tonight. And the smell in the house is wonderful now. Who knew?

Sometimes I'm ready for the week to be over. Burning my thumb on the brown ghee was just the last thing to happen. I needed that thumb.

Eclipse

There, I finished them all. Eclipse was better than New Moon, but not as good as Twilight.

And yes, it's easy to see what the appeal is for teenage (and maybe even college age) girls. I just don't quite get what adults see in them. There's a glimmer of a good story, especially in Twilight, but this isn't amazing stuff. But now I've read them when people ask.

26 March 2008

New Template

Obviously, if you're reading this outside an aggregator. It's time for a new one, although there are still a few glitches in this one (the margins at the beginning of some posts are funny- are you out there Johnna?). And I need to work on the sidebars. But I think I'm liking it.

I don't think I'd done a thing with the template in a year.

25 March 2008

Odds and Ends

I am fascinated by the marketing that is geared toward the green crowd. Since green is trendy now, it's also expensive, and apparently wasteful, since you have to replace everything with more earth-friendly stuff.

Thursday was World Water Day and Global Gal blogged about it. For the record, the scariest toilet I ever had to use was in Egypt at a border crossing. The nicest pit toilet I ever used was in Naryn, Kyrgyzstan. But usually I can use a clean, indoor flushing toilet. I'm not grateful enough for that.

neweurasia Kazakhstan had some links about China's borders. China's and India's disputes are much more well known than some of China's disputes with former Soviet republics.

neweurasia Kyrgyzstan wrote about the cost of Kyrgyz traditions, especially weddings and funerals. We certainly saw that in Kyrgyzstan!

Bakiev isn't dead, he just had hip surgery. He's been out of Kyrgyzstan all month and apparently thought that rumors of his death were better than just telling people he had hip surgery. Unless he really didn't...

Languagehat wrote about linguistic connections across the Bering Sea.

And the Azamat Report wrote about the Turkish schools in Central Asia from an article in the Economist. My husband's translator was a product of this system and we were certainly impressed. We visited one of their schools in Naryn.

24 March 2008

People of the Book

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Recommended.

19 March 2008

New Moon

I'm becoming less sure what all the hype is about this series as I read more of it...

17 March 2008

Navruz

I've pretty much done my blogging for Nooruz in 2005 and 2006, so check the archives if you want to see what I lvoe about Nooruz. We'll be celebrating on Saturday.

Palm Sunday

What I was thinking about yesterday

13 March 2008

In Defense of Food

Michael Pollan uses this book to try to convince readers to eat food. The first two sections of the book set up the arguments for why you should follow his eating suggestions in the last section of the book. The suggestions, based around seven words- "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."- are pretty much what they should be- eat good quality read food (not processed or refined), local and organic, have a garden, eat slowly, don't buy things with ingredients you don't recognize, cook your own food (as long as you're not the type of cook who starts with a can of cream of mushroom soup- I loved that line), etc.

I don't necessarily think nutritionalists and his related people are as bad as Pollan makes them out to be; I was already fully aware of all of his suggestions and had been hearing them from those nutritionalists. And despite his love for native diets, they weren't perfect because they often lacked variety. Yes, they often sufficed, but we can do better. And he used the French as an example far too often. There are plenty of other food cultures in the world that he could have used to make those example a little more interesting.

It's a good book. Recommended.

12 March 2008

Moving

We're planning our next move (we've moved every summer since I started this blog; this will be our fifth move in that time) and I was thinking that moving isn't so bad anymore. In fact, there are things that I rather like about it.

You get to live in and learn about lots of new places. A year really isn't anywhere near enough time to learn everything about any place, but it's a lot better than being a tourist for a week. This is why I really hope we can live in China sometime.

You take advantage of the good things in the place you live. We've been having a wonderful time exploring our current city. Even though I'd visited a lot, I'd never lived here before and it's totally different. And living 2 hours from Yellowstone a couple of years ago was heaven.

You get pretty good at the actual move. Our first few moves were pretty stressful, but after doing several I figured out how to do it and it's not such a big deal.

You get to meet all sorts of interesting people. You have to leave them behind later, but the internet makes up for a lot of that. We've totally lost contact with people from the city we lived in New Jersey before the internet had really taken off for the general population, but not so with all the rest. We've had friends from all over the world because we've moved a lot. Of course, we could have just gone and lived in Toronto and saved ourselves the trouble.

You get to start over with a clean house or apartment every year. Nothing gets too gross in a year, even the floor under large appliances.

There are some bad things. It's no fun to load a moving van. And I always have an awful time when I have to come back to the US from living overseas. Just awful. And if your children aren't excited about the move, that's bad too (the boys are excited this time). But moving's not so bad, not really.
I have all sorts of ideas for blog posts when I'm nursing the baby at night, but by the time I can sit down and actually write something, my brain has run out of steam for the day and I usually play a few rounds of sudoku instead. Blogging is really low on the list these days. But I am getting everything else done that I need to.

10 March 2008

The Turk and My Mother

I quite enjoyed this book by Mary Helen Stefaniak. It's the intertwined stories of various immigrants to Milwaukee and their descendants over 80 years. It's funny and honest and simply a pleasure to read.

If my opinion counted for anything, I wouldn't have chosen the title nor the cover for this book. Neither seemed to quite fit. You get something quite different, especially with Staramajka. But that's my only complaint. Recommended.

08 March 2008

GeoSite on Enclaves

Strange Maps pointed me to this fascinating site about enclaves and such around the world. There's not much about Central Asia, but if enclaves and other interesting geographical things are your thing, there's a lot here.

06 March 2008

The Wrap

No, this finally isn't a post about food or books (since that's about all I've done recently). It's about the baby. I'm not really into having a lot of stuff for babies (no swing, stroller, bouncy seat, whatever, not even a crib this time around), but I did try a couple of carriers this time around.

I already knew I liked slings from when I used one with the older boys, so I've been happy with my Maya Wrap. I have a lightly padded one and I really like the pocket. It's big enough to hold everything I need when we go out without being in the way. I don't use it much right now since my baby is long but not ready to sit up. We'll use it a lot more in a few months when he is sitting and when it is too hot for my other carrier. Some people complain that the sling is hard to adjust, but watching the CD and practicing help a lot. And a little baby will look funny in it.

But what I've really been impressed with is my wrap. I picked it up second hand or I probably wouldn't have spent the money on it since they look way complicated. Mine is a stretchy wrap. There are lots of brands of wraps, but the basic differences are stretchy and woven. This site has the best instructions I've seen online of different ways to carry your baby. There are a couple of drawbacks- since the fabric is stretchy, I need to wrap it quite tight to keep the baby from sagging after a few hours. And it'll be too hot for the summer, no question. It also doesn't have a handy pocket like my sling, but since I need a jacket when we go out, I just use the pockets there. But it doesn't hurt my back or shoulders at all, even after two hours without a break. And my baby LOVES it. He's sleeping in it right now. I also like that it holds him more tightly against my body than the sling does when I'm trying to get things done. And don't let this wrap scare you. It's easier to use than it looks. And don't buy an expensive one. Find one secondhand or make your own. It's just a really long piece of fabric.

I still haven't tried gdiapers like I planned on. This little boy grew out of the small size by the time he was a month old and I haven't ordered any mediums because our toilets have been temperamental and not always able to handle toilet paper, much less a gdiaper. The maintenance guys don't want to be up here all the time, no matter how nice they are. Maybe in the next apartment, since there will certainly be a next one before too long.

And that's all. The only other stuff we use are clothes and diapers, and regular clothes and diapers are boring.

04 March 2008

The Blue Sky

This was another lucky find at the library. The Blue Sky is by a Mongolian-born Tuvan named Irgit Shynykbai-oglu Dshurukuwaa who writes in German under the name Galsan Tschinag. This is the first book in an autobiographical trilogy.

This isn't a particularly exciting book, but that fit the time and place of the story. It was in the YA section of my library, but I'm inclined to think that this book would appeal more to adults. It would also help to learn just a bit about the Tuvans before launching into the book.

The ending was a bit abrupt, but since it's a trilogy, that's more understandable. Too bad that the rest of the trilogy doesn't appear to be in English.

Recommended.

03 March 2008

Climbing the Mango Trees

I very much enjoyed Madhur Jaffrey's memoir of growing up in India. The mix of remembering Delhi, especially before Partition, and the food was perfect. There are also quite a few recipes at the end of the book.

I was especially interested to read about tandoor cooking in Delhi. I hadn't realized it had come to Delhi so late from the Punjab. And so many people associate tandoor cooking with India...

Recommended.

This technically completes Melissa's challenge, but since I'm still hoping that Amazon will find The Railway for me and since I have a few more from South America and Africa to try, I don't think I'm done quite yet. And I could read some more Middle East books, I guess. I just do that a lot.