Sunday, March 30, 2008

der Wirsing = Savoy Cabbage

This is my current favorite vegetable. It's called Savoy Cabbage in English, but I can never remember that. It is one of the many veggies that I first got to know when I got to Germany. I (or Jan) cut the the leaves into stripes and then steam them in a frying pan along with fresh ginger, red onions, sesame seed oil and soy sauce.

It's a great veggie side to fish or meat or tofu! I ate it tonight with sauteed squid - Yum!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Earth Hour

I just signed up to the new Earth Hour website for 2008 and I thought you might like to take a look and possibly sign up too. Earth Hour is on 29 March 2008 at 8pm, and it looks like it's going to be really big. So far, as well as Sydney, there'll also be Adelaide, Atlanta, Bangkok, Brisbane, Canberra, Chicago, Christchurch, Copenhagen, Dublin, Manila, Melbourne, Montreal, Odense, Ottawa, Perth, Phoenix, San Francisco, Suva, Tel Aviv, Toronto and Vancouver all turning off their lights for an hour in the name of fighting global warming. Sign up for Earth Hour with me by visiting and join the movement.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Christos Voskres

We had Easter at our place complete with an Easter Egg hunt for those of us under 3. The whole fam was here to enjoy the festivies. Here are the nifty decorations:

The joyous group of Easter celebrators:

The hilariousness of the Easter Egg Hunt - in our living room:

checking under the TV for goodies

Adrian had actually already found this piece of chocolate in the couch a few times before the hunt had begun, but apparently forgot it was there. He was pretty bewildered even as we were trying to help him locate it. He is so smart that it was kinda fun to see him puzzled again.

"it's mine!"

Lovin' the squeels

tuckered out at the end of a long hunt

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Thai Holiday

Since both Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays in Germany, we have a 4 day holiday weekend! We thought about going away for the weekend, but we couldn't settle on any one thing and since we are making two transatlantic trips this year we decided to do holiday at home. Yesterday we relaxed and had a Buffy marathon (that's a different post though) and today we went for Thai massages! We had 2 hours of herbal steambath, thai and foot massages planned. This was definitely holiday at home.

cute little thai massage beds

foot massage paradise

Now we can set about preparing Easter dinner in a very relaxed manner. If you can afford the time, I highly recommend the pampering!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

"Die Welle"

Jen and I went to see an interesting movie last night, "Die Welle," ("The Wave").

The story is based on actual events that happened in the late 60's in a Californian High School. Students were learning about the 3rd Reich and posed the question,"How could the people of Germany not have known what was happening?" The teacher, Ron Jones, could not answer this question, but decided to conduct an experiment with his students. He began building an autocratic state in his classroom where discipline was used to control the students. The students responded so well to the experiment that it spread throughout the school and became known as "The Third Wave." After only 5 days Mr. Jones had to end the experiment because it had gotten out of control - students who would not join the Third Wave were being discriminated against and even beaten up. The author Morton Rhue wrote a book based on these events and the story seems to have been written and acted (in film and theater) in various eras.

I very much enjoyed this German production and encourage you to see it, if it comes out in the US. There was an American film which came out in 1981 which would also surely be interesting. I enjoyed this one so much because they used the original story, but set it in 2008 to relate to today's world. It was also quite interesting to see the different races and groups which exist here in Germany coming together through the experiment. It very clearly had good sides, but the bad ones were too overshadowing.

For those interested, here is the film link and where I got most of the history:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My name is Michelle and I have a problem...

....that's the first step, right?

My name is Michelle and I have a popcorn problem.

You might laugh, but it is true.

I don't know what recently possessed me to buy popcorn kernels at the store, but the madness hasn't ceased since. You must understand that here in Germany the buttery salty goodness is not fully appreciated. Here in the cinema you are forced to snack on sugar popcorn - it's almost blasphemous! (okay, not really, I like the sugar popcorn too, it's kinda like carmel corn - though not as good) The point is, although you can opt to buy salty popcorn, it is NOT the same - it's popcorn with salt on it, which sort of misses the point of the butter and salt relationship. I have now developed expert popcorn making skills and have to have the buttery salty goodness at least once a day. It has replaced my dinner. Where is the nutrition in that? Forget about the fat and calories, where are the vitamins? I should develop vitamin laced popcorn, that would solve the problem.

I tend to go through phases like this. I eat something everyday until I can't stand it anymore. Hopefully the popcorn phase won't last long enough that my blood is void of vitamins and minerals.

Good thing I have Centrum!

Sunday, March 9, 2008


Last weekend we went with Andrea and Adrian to watch the airplanes take off and land at an oberservation deck near the Frankfurt Airport runways. The weather was pretty threatening as you can see, but it was cool having Adrian do a running commentary for us.

After the airport fun we went to the park. This is a super cool action shot that Jan took:

Italienischer Abend

Since I so much enjoy reading Kristy and Tara's blogs, I decided to try and make my own life a bit more transparent. I don't have too many super exciting projects running, like kids or breaking ground on a new house, but we do some interesting stuff too. I am also trying to convince Jeawilli to get on the blogging thing, so I figured I should set an example :)

So, I'll start with last night. Jan had an "Italian Night" planned. When he says Italian Night, he doesn't mean movies or fashion or music or opera, he of course means: food and wine. A friend of ours was dating an Italian girl (or at least of Italian heritage, she I think was born here. There are a lot of Italians in Germany because they came here after the war for work, which is great for us, tons of great restaurants and ice creams joints!) in speech, I digress. A friend of ours was dating an Italian girl and Jan wanted to squeeze Italian food secrets out of her, so he planned an Italian night where he could cook with her. He wanted to make the time old tradition: pizza. This friend of ours is quite the player (for lack of a more sophisticated word) and I jokingly said, hopefully they're still together on March 8th. I think I might have a future in fortune telling, because Wednesday night he called and cancelled since the Italian girl didn't exist anymore. Told ya.

Jan was not to be discouraged by this untimely news. He restructured his plan and created this menu for the evening:

Spring Minestrone with homemade pesto
Homemade Tortellini with walnut farce

We also had quite a bit of wine, but since I am not drinking alcohol during Lent, I didn't pay much attention to what was going on there. The food was great, but Jan - being the pickiest self-critic ever - was unsatisfied with the thickness of the noodles, but seriously it is hard to roll the dough out paper thin. He just wants me to buy him a noodle roller machine for his birthday.

What would an Italian evening be without people to share it? Jen and Martin, Jörg, and a friend of mine from work, Kathy, joined us for this culinary event. To top off the evening we played a few dozen rounds of Uno. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I won the Uno tournament - but only by a hair, Jen came in a glorified second (which I'm only mentioning, because I'll be forwarding her this link as well :) )

You might ask what I did to contribute to the evening? Let's see...I vacuumed (but I guess I had to do that anyway), I was DJ (Andrea Bocelli), I washed the asparagus, and the most important task: I taste-tested!! Good thing Jan has me around!

PS: sorry no pics from the evening, the blog was a last minute idea, but I'll be prepared next time!