I found one! A teapot, that is. And it was just $5 from a local thrift store.
The title of this post is one of my favorite quotes from my favorite childhood book, Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye. It alludes to the unifying power of tea across cultures. It’s a sweet sentiment, I think.
One of my Christmas presents this year was a Raspberry Pi! A Raspberry Pi (also referred to as a RasPi) is a credit card-sized computer that costs around $35. It’s intended to inspire people around the world to learn programming, which I think is a great mission. The possibilities with computers like these are truly endless.
For the technical folks, here’s a diagram of the parts (from the official RasPi website).
I’m not sure exactly what I want to make with it yet. People have made some amazing projects. In fact, Wired just posted an article the other day about some new cool RasPi projects, including a musical instrument (using beets!), a voice-activated coffee maker and a media center, among other things. I’m thinking about making a really awesome mobile hackerbox, using my materials from my PirateBox, and getting a USB monitor and a wireless keyboard/mouse. I’d love to build it all into a cyberpunk book or something just to make it really 1337.
First, I’ll be putting Linux on it (the Raspbian distro seems like a logical first step). I need to make a prototype of my hackerbox before I start putting everything together. I’m looking forward to embarking on a new project!
One of my favorite autumn activities is making spices. I enjoy cooking much more in the fall and winter than during the hotter seasons, so I like to try out new spices and recipes.
(On a nerdier note, it also makes me feel like an alchemist when I use my big mortar and pestle. I like to pretend I’m my Skyrim character.)
I love the colors and textures of dried herbs and plants. I find the act of crushing peppercorns, smashing coriander and grinding sage leaves so relaxing. It feels and smells great.
Tonight I made dinner for my boyfriend and Andrew, and wanted to try something different, so I threw a spice mix together that turned out really good. I like to make spices based on themes, and I’ve been enjoying hearty, savory foods lately–lean meat, squash, green veggies, etc.. I had a bag of dried sage from a local farm, and I had a new bottle of whole black peppercorns. Both of these are strong flavors, so I wanted to balance it out with some mild flavors. I covered pork chops with this mix last night and the pepper and sage especially tasted great as a crust. This would also be good with chicken, pasta, butternut squash or cauliflower.
I got my spice jars at World Market and I love them! I tie a piece of hemp around the top just to make them look a little less industrial. You could also put the ingredients whole into a spice jar with a grinder lid. Enjoy!
I’m not normally a crazy Christmas person but this year I wanted to get decorations up as soon as possible. I’ve been feeling like a total homebody lately, and I’m of the mind that Christmas lights make everything prettier. Last year, I felt like we didn’t have very much time to enjoy our Christmas decorations, so we got an early start this time around. As you can see, Sofie was a little overwhelmed by all of the new shiny lights everywhere.
I love the ancient and medieval history and mythology of Christmas, especially the tradition of the Christmas tree. According to this article, Medieval Christmas Traditions:
The tree was an important symbol to every Pagan culture. The oak in particular was venerated by the Druids. Evergreens, which in ancient Rome were thought to have special powers and were used for decoration, symbolized the promised return of life in the spring and came to symbolize eternal life for Christians. The Vikings hung fir and ash trees with war trophies for good luck.
In the middle ages, the Church would decorate trees with apples on Christmas Eve, which they called “Adam and Eve Day.” However, the trees remained outdoors. In sixteenth-century Germany, it was the custom for a fir tree decorated with paper flowers to be carried though the streets on Christmas Eve to the town square, where, after a great feast and celebration that included dancing around the tree, it would be ceremonially burned.
Holly, ivy, and mistletoe were all important plants to the Druids. It was believed that good spirits lived in the branches of holly. Christians believed that the berries had been white before they were turned red by Christ’s blood when he was made to wear the crown of thorns. Ivy was associated with the Roman god Bacchus and was not allowed by the Church as decoration until later in the middle ages, when a superstition that it could help recognize witches and protect against plague arose.
I love the idea of putting apples on a tree. We have a tradition of getting a new ornament every year to signify an experience we’ve shared this year but we might have to add some fruit, too.
Took a walk with Andrew yesterday to the park across the street to clear my head. It worked, for a little bit at least. Lately I’ve been living a week at a time. Once this week is over I can recenter–catch up on my NaNoWriMo project, finish some books I started reading, watch some movies, make some things I’ve been putting off. I’m looking forward to relaxing.
The first snow day is always exciting. It’s like the whole city takes a deep breath. It’s all quiet, calm, clean, new. To me, winter isn’t winter without snow. I’ve lived in Nevada for ten years so I guess now I’m spoiled.
Right now I have a sleeping kitty on my lap and I’m trying to catch up on my NaNoWriMo book. I’m listening to Sucre and Vanessa Carlton. Andrew got me breakfast. It’s been a nice morning.
It was a cold, blustery day here in Northern Nevada. It seemed like everyone was appreciating the visible change in season. I love when the atmosphere changes. I can feel it in my bones.
I used the coldness as an excuse to wear my favorite scarf, which marks it as the first scarf day of the year–almost as good as the day I get to pull my boots out of the back of my closet. When the sky is grey out, I tend to get up earlier so I can enjoy the cold weather. I also put my hair up in a bun and forgo wearing lots of makeup since I like the way cold air makes my skin feel.
Storms make me feel like change is on the horizon, and not just in the clouds.
We went to Apple Hill this weekend for the third year in a row, which I guess solidifies it as our fall tradition. We like to pick out our pumpkins to carve, as well as some of the famous apples (can’t go to Apple Hill without getting apples, right?) I also picked up some squash to bake sometime in the next few weeks, and we splurged and got some apple donuts, which are delicious! On the way home, we stopped by FiftyFifty, a brewery in Truckee, and picked up a growler of their Imperial Stout. I guess we were feeling like our Skyrim characters. We also went to dinner at the Sasquatch Tavern in Verdi, and got the Sasquatch Coffee, which was similar to Irish coffee. It was a fun and very autumn-themed day!
I went out to Golden Valley last week as part of a “waste stream tour,” where I visited different trash and recycling facilities. The Golden Valley stop was intended to showcase illegal dump sites, where people haul their trash out to the middle of nowhere. It’s quite upsetting, really, but in any case, Golden Valley is very pretty. I used to hate sagebrush, but after being a Nevadan for 10 years (wow, already?!) I’ve come to love it. It is our state flower, after all. I guess that speaks for itself.