Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hot Spiced Apple Cider

     There's nothing I like more in an upstate-NY fall than hot spiced apple cider.  It makes the kitchen smell lovely and tastes delicious.  I like to place it in my biggest, fattest, favorite mug and just sit with it warming my hands, it's aroma filling my apartment.  I let the stove-produced comfort wash over my senses, and I become instantly happy.
     Unfortunately, if done wrong the whole production foils your plans for a relaxing evening.  As an example of things that can go wrong - you can put in too much orange peel and end up with cider that tastes like hot orange juice.  Trust me, there's nothing worse than hot orange juice.
     So here it is, the Marie method of Hot Spiced Apple Cider, and afterwards an alternative recipe by Vanessa.

Hot Spiced Apple Cider

- Good Quality Cider, enough to fill a small stove-pot - can be farm bought or grocery-store bought.  I tend to find that higher sugar contents like the store bought make better hot cider and taste worse cold.  (and Vice Versa).
- Two Cinnamon Sticks (can't do too much really!)
- Small amount of Fresh Orange Peel (one finger-length, thick ribbon)
- 1 teaspoon Whole Cloves
- 1 Anise Seed "Flower" - do NOT use extract.  Just delete this ingredient if you can't find it.

Heat it all together on the stove until it steams, but don't let it boil.  If it boils it will still taste good, but not AS good as if you did not boil it.  Once it steams, pour it through a strainer into that favorite mug of yours (So that you're not fighting little bits and pieces of clove while you drink!)  And TAADAA! You now have lovely Hot Spiced Apple Cider.

Now if you're not so wild about that, here's an addition:

Vanessa's Hot Apple Cider.
The theme here is "skip the fancy stuff and bring on the booze!"

- Apple Cider
- Cinnamon Sticks per taste
- Rum

Heat the cinnamon sticks and apple cider together.  Once that is done, strain it into a mug, leaving room for the rum.  If you heated the rum with the cider you would lose a lot of the alcohol content.  So, add the rum after the cider is heated, to taste.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fun with English

     Being a good little German-American, I of course somehow fell in love with a Japanese man (a heresy of sorts in a family that remained %100 biologically German while living in America for four generations - WHAT?! He's not even WHITE?).  Ko-kun, my samurai/daredevil pilot, came to the states alone when he was 15 to learn to fly helicopters.  Unfortunately he was around too many other Japanese people for many years and only learned very cursory English for a long while.... well, until meeting me two years ago, the big whopping Bavarian-American girl who just happened to be fluent in Japanese... go figure.
     Since then we've had quite a lot of fun with rookie grammatical errors and such.  "Fun with English" will be short snippets of the funnier episodes of "English confusion", as I like to call it.

Fun with English - part 1 - De-mystifying Coffee

Ko-kun: "I'm really tired, so I make some decaf coffee now."
Me: "You don't want it to interrupt you falling asleep?  It's the afternoon."
Ko-kun: "No, I want REALLY strong coffee so it wake me up!!"
Me: "Then why do you want decaf?" *Perplexed*
Ko-kun: "Well, it IS so strong! That's why."

    Ko-kun had been operating under the assumption that decaf coffee was a stronger version of coffee because the "DE" portion of the word just sounded stronger.  No matter that words like de-valued and de-capitated exist; these apparently were not big clues for the last 10 years or so.  Words like de-velop and de-licious must have been the misleading culprits.  I of course immediately put this to right.

Me: "So, let me get this straight.  In the mornings at the helicopter company... when you are REALLY tired... you've been drinking DECAF to wake up?!?!"
Ko-kun: *shakes head yes*


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Onalee's Place

   On the way home, at the side of the road, sits Onalee's Place.  It is an old white tool shed with an overhang and a sign that says, "a dozen corn - $3.00".  In this old wizened place sits an old wizened lady, who I swear has not aged for the twenty years that I have been buying corn from her.  The farmhouse with green shutters stands with her as a testament to a simpler time.  Though the monstrous power transformers came to loom over her and the thruway now runs wildly next to her, Onalee is not moved or bothered.  She was old when I was young, and she is old still, sitting in her usual spot, unmoving and unchanging.  Sometimes I wonder how long she can continue sitting and selling corn.  Then I remember, time stopped for Onalee years ago.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chronicle of the Stay-Over Cat

If you had a cat for a month, what would you do with it?  BLOG about it of course!!
    This is a repeat of my facebook chronicles of the stay-over cat.  I was watching a silly one year-old cat for my friends Adam and Rachel while they were in Florida for an away rotation.  For those of you unfamiliar with the "away rotation" it consists of one month spent at another medical school, working with their doctors as a preview for residency.  You get to know them, they get to know you, and you hope against hope that they don't think you're an incapable jerk.  Anyway, Dunkin the cat was mine for about a month, and hilarity ensued.

Chronicle of the stay-over cat; first day: Dunkin the cat is currently hiding behind my couch. I suspect this is because he is homesick, and because my bed has too much stuff under it to serve as an acceptable fortress of solitude.

Chronicle of the stay-over cat; day 2: I had never imagined that my apartment contained a 4th invisible dimension, but nevertheless the cat must have found one and entered it, because I can not find him in any nook or cranny.

Chronicle of the stay-over cat; day 3: Almost lured the creature out of his lair with gentle caresses, until he slunk back into the darkness behind the couch. The plan is progressing well.

Chronicle of the stay-over cat; day 4: This ill-disposed cat is making my head spin. One minute he's happily purring and coming out into the real world, and the next he makes a quick strike at your wrist with his pointy teeth. Needless to say he has been banned from the bedroom and his chicken until he puts those teeth away. ...sigh... so close to progress, yet still so far.

Chronicle of the stay-over cat; day 5: Dunkin has turned the corner.. literally. The silly creature is poking his head around the corner of the couch, curious about the outside world. He also now likes being pet, and he chased a fly around earlier.

Chronicle of the stay-over cat; chapter 6 - the great escape: Dunkin played the part of Steve McQueen today by trying to run the fence (ie: he wanted to get out of the door!) He was very appreciative when I got home too!!

Chronicle of the stay-over cat; day 7: Dunkin has now taken to greeting me when I come home, displaying his belly in a silly manner for my delight. Deep down in his diabolical kitty brain, I suspect he may actually be plotting to trip me.

Chronicle of the stay over cat; day 8: "What do you want from me cat?". Silly cat has discovered that sitting on my papers is and excellent way to get my attention (which he has been vying for ALL day).

Chronicle of the stay-over cat; day 9: Most cats rub against your legs for attention. Dunkin, strange cat that he is, uses his gigantic monster-feet to PROPEL himself INTO my legs. He may be trying to knock me over with his ninja attacks so he can escape.

Chronicle of the stay-over cat; day 10, in which Dunkin gets a new name:
Kosuke: "How's Donkey?"
Me: "What?!? What Donkey?" *thoroughly confused*
Kosuke: "the neko (cat)"
Ah, Japenglish. So since Kosuke thought I was saying donkey instead of Dunkin this whole time, the cat now has a new nickname.

Chronicle of the stay-over cat; day 11, sneak attacks: With eyes as wide as the moon, the creature stalks his prey, wiggles his kitty-bum, and pounces. Unfortunately the prey was an inedible robe-tie.

Chronicle of the stay-over cat; day 12, OCD much?: The fastidious Sir Dunkin gift-wrapped me a present today. The kitty-litter liner was pulled from each of the four sides into the middle, until it fully covered his litter, resembling the back of an envelope. I guess I "got the message" in the end. He obviously thought it was high time to clean the littler box!

Chronicle of the stay-over cat; day 13: "Dunkin!", I call. Suddenly, a horrific rumbling erupts from underneath my sink, as though the pipes will burst. I peek into the area, cautiously, and see nothing. More rustling occurs and I see a black and white head poke out at me and cough. Somehow, Dunkin had gotten behind the dish washer! He definitely has a talent for small spaces.

Chronicle; day 13.2; sneak attacks reversed: The big-eyed playful one was fully engrossed. He had been playing fervently with a stray plastic bag. Out of nowhere, a gigantic human rushed at him, her arms flailing wildly and whooping a war-cry to the skies. He fled at full speed, heart only slightly faster than his feet. Marie 1: Cat 1 The scores even out.

 Chronicle of the stay-over cat; day 14: *BOING!!* A black and white face appeared briefly to peer over the top of the kitchen table and disappeared just as quickly. I was flabbergasted, to say the least, that Dunkin-the-oddest-cat-in-existence was so interested in my breakfast that he felt the need to jump all the way from the floor just to get a better view.

Chronicle; day 16: Dunkin, the double Ph.D. in catly sciences and all-around-savant, ponders the mysteries of the universe from his lair. 'I have it! Einstein was so close, but not quite. Of course it all makes sense now! E=mc squared BUT it ALSO equals...OMGFASTMOVINGOBJECTMUSTCHASEIT!' And so the discovery of the final mystery of the universe was thwarted by a human with a cat toy.

Chronicle of the stay-over cat; day 16.2: It is comforting to fall asleep with a warm, purring creature nestled in the crook of your arm.

Chronicle of the stay-over cat: day 17: Idea #547 to get more treats: If I lay on my side, and scooch using my claws, the human may think I am paraplegic and take pity on me.

Chronicle; day 18: The human may be capable of intelligence. In my recent attempt to communicate, she actually tried to answer me back in cat-speak. The entire intonation was wrong, however, so she ended up saying, "The pudding is in my face."

Chronicle; day 19: Sometimes the human changes her fur. Today her back paws are tongue-color, her back legs are sun-color, and her back fur is sky-color with a tail. I especially like when she wears the tail because I can CHASE it! (Robe and pjs!)

Chronicle 19.5: I flick my ear in your general direction... and at any song recorded before the 1960s. (apparently the cat has discriminating taste...)

Chronicle of the stay-over cat; day 20: Smelly cat, smelly cat, it is not your fault.
Later: in which the cat meets Kosuke.

Chronicle of the stay-over cat; day 21: This cat is obviously racist against white people. He made such a fuss over me, Josh and Sara, but blindly accepts Kosuke. Unbelievable.

Chronicle of the stay-over cat; day 22: Dunkin no longer loves me. He will not cuddle me anymore, and he didn't even GREET me with his cute belly-flip when I came home! He loves Kosuke with all of his kitty-might now, and there is no room left for me. Sigh.

Chronicle of the stay-over cat; 2 days to go: This morning I found Dunkin beneath a pile of my newly-laundered scrubs. Dr. Kitty will save you. Have no fear!

Chronicle of the stay-over cat; 1 day to go: I came home to find a head-sized hole in the blinds where they had been pushed to either side. I wonder how that happened???

Chronicles of the stay-over cat: last day: Dunkin doesn't seem to understand the concept of a glass coffee-table... but it's so fun to be evil and make him think he can get the toy through the glass!

Dunkin is gone now, happily back with his parents, for those of you who wondered. The handoff went well and I suspect that he is happily jumping around their apartment right now.

   In all honestly, it has been a couple of weeks since then, and I still find myself cautiously opening the front door so that I don't have to chase after an escapee.  It is the memory of him that remains and threatens to leave every time I open the door and don't see my little furry friend.  One day, when I have settled down in a residency program, I will have a more permanent kind of stay-over cat, preferably orange.  


     On the goading of friends and acquaintances, I have decided to start a blog... again.  I have had blogs in the past, but nothing much to say in them.  That being said, I still have nothing much of interest to report, but I do have a bit more than before - a little older, a little sillier, and a little more opinionated, as time has fashioned me.
     I consider myself a simple person, with simple tastes and likes... but in truth I am probably rather complicated.  I am a German-American raised, medical school taught, Western New-Yorker with a relish for Asian languages and good food.  (Pun not intended!)
    Over the days, if you care to browse, you may find stories about my pediatric residency interviews, food stories, and other bits and bobbles of my misadventures.