Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Istanbul Thrice: Sultana

It's the afternoon of our first full day in Istanbul. Outside the air is hot and dusty, filled with the sounds and smells of merchants and tourists plying their respective trades. The sun can be dazzling, and the traffic is terrifying. We've just left Haggia Sophia and I realize that I basically have no idea what to do next. I'm such a good planner, usually, but somehow on this trip I didn't get much further than booking a hotel and glancing at a map. When we decided to visit something called the Basilica Cistern, I was mostly hoping for a place to sit down. But when we followed the lines down below the ground, we found this:

 It felt suspiciously like stepping back in time as we descended the stairs to this place. The electric lights seemed to flicker like candles, or torches set just above the water line. Something about it seemed at once menacing and alluring. I had spent all that energy waiting for a time-warp thing in Scotland, and now boom, here it was. Only, I didn't order a trip back to Byzantium darlings.

 At least I got to take this guy with me. Doesn't he look good cerca 500 AD?

Also, this is totally the wrong outfit for a spot of time-travelling. Had I known the itinerary involved stepping back several hundred years, I would have worn less sensible shoes.

 Then Medusa showed up and was all "Girl, those shoes are ridiculous. Get yourself some strappy sandals, stat."

And then they made us their king.

Yes, I know. This blog is weak-sauce compared to the Scotland stuff. The thing is, while Istanbul was amazing, it just wasn't very....funny I guess. Also I haven't yet talked about the food, and as we all know, that's where my best writing material generally comes from. Not to worry, we had some seriously good eats later on.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Black Friday Conversation

Him: "That kid looks like Harry Potter."

Me: "That's a middle-aged woman."

Him: "That woman looks like Harry Potter."

Well, another mad shopping day has come and gone. Mr. Awesome and I were such dedicated Christmas shoppers that we dared brave the lines at...Wendy's drive through. Those lines, I'm telling you! And the attitude of the other shoppers as they just, serenely drove away sucking frosty through a straw. It was intense.

In other news, it is quite possible that, for the first time ever, team J&J may send out Christmas cards this year. I cannot make any promises, but if you want to get in on what could possibly be the most fantabulous postal festivity since flat-rate shipping, please do send me your mailing address.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Trees of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.

The Awesome One and I have been married just over a year, but we already have a solid Christmastime tradition. Partially because we like to be crafty but mostly because I do not like storing "things", we make our own tree ornaments each year--disposable ones that do not require being boxed up and saved come February..erm, I mean...January. ehem.

So, here's a peek at our first three Christmas trees, in chronological order.

Tree #1: Affectionately Titled "The Ugly Tree"
The tree is a gloriously preserved fiber-optic number passed down from a sibling who was hard pressed to part with it. The fibers no longer opt, as it were, but isn't it just... I don't know.
A close-ups of the stained-glass cookies we made, to go with the lindor truffles and candy-canes. We felt they were suitably tacky for such a tree.
Tree #2: Which, for today's purposes, we're calling "The Newlywed Tree"
We splurged and purchased our very own, brand new piece of plastic pine. I'll admit, while it has a bit less character than the last, it is at least symmetrical.
We used left-over wedding invitations and the customized "Jennifer & Jeremy, September 25, 2010" ribbon for some of the decorations.
We made better stained glass cookies this year. We used a blue ring-pop for the "glass" to match the more restrained color theme, and blue-raspberry candy-canes.

Tree #3: As yet unnamed, but maybe "Au Natural" or "The Smelly Tree"

Mr. Awesome was such a champ about stringing those cranberries. And after he finished his strand and picked it up to hang on the tree, he was such a champ about chasing them all over the floor as they fell right off the string.
We dried these orange slices in the oven, and only burned a handful so well done us. To the left there you can see some cinnamon sticks and star anise which we bought at the spice market in Istanbul for this precise purpose. They smell lovely.

The stockings you can see in the background are a pair we purchased in Edinburgh, at a lovely little Christmas shop that seemed made entirely for me.

We do store the tree, which is annoying for me. I realize that buying a real tree each year would eliminate that problem, but I think I'm just being cheap. And I hadn't seen the selection of real trees Whole Foods sells when we purchased this one. I love making the ornaments each year, though. It means we never have the same decorations twice, and we get to be all creative about it each year. I have plenty of other ideas up my sleeve for future trees: Origami, for example, or lolli-pops. And just imagine how many things you can do with pine-cones.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ambrosia, and other matters.

Him: So do you think we're like...the cool aunt and uncle now?

Me: Darling, you just taught your nieces how to suck hot-chocolate and ice cream through a cookie. You're set until your brother buys them a pony.


Him: I was sitting out there on the couch listening to you talk on the phone, and I realized I like to hear Jenni talk on the phone. So I brought my computer in here where I can hear you better.

Me: That' odd thing to enjoy.

Him: Well, you sound so excited about stuff.

Me: I'm excited when I talk to you, though.

Him: Yeah, but you talk to me all the time.

Me: So, it's more special for you when I'm saying it over the phone to someone else?

Him: Yep.


Me: Isn't it weird how the inflection in your voice can make anything sound like an innuendo?

Him: I'll inyourendo.

Me: Nope, not what I meant.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Really Bad Eggs

You know how on Halloween there are those trunk-or-treats and some of the people go all out and it's kind of weird but also pretty awesome? So anyway, this happened:

Those swords? Totally real, me 'earties.
The gold is not real, but that Jolly Roger? Legit.

We did not spend a cent on our costumes this year. Which, if you think about it, makes us kind of weird. I mean, what else do we have randomly hanging in our closet? (Saris and turbans, couple of leather masks, a kilt. You know, the basics.)

Notice the rum here. I spent a good fifteen minutes getting the right proportion of red, blue and yellow food coloring to achieve that amber color. And, having never actually seen rum in real life, I'm thinking I nailed it.

The nuance here, sea-dogs! It's obvious these are legitimate world-traveling marauders. I mean, the box is from India as are the Sari and the golden Ganesha, that jade ball in the center is from China, the burgundy fabric with gold details is from Turkey, and those plates, if you can believe it, come all the way from the magical land of Target.

I drew that treasure map with an actual quil and ink.
And then I LIT IT ON FIRE!

This not real.  Well, I mean I am a real person and all, but the blood is fake. I think. Unless the Riteaid is selling real blood. That'd be weird. And disgusting. And illegal.

We're beggars and blighters and ne'er do-well cads,
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho. 

Aye, but we're loved by our mommies and dads,
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
Happy Halloween, ye scalawags!