winter pickle.

winter pickle is disgusted with winter.

the groundhog promised him an early spring,

but that groundhog (filthy, hole-dwelling beast) LIED.

the extended winter & icy conditions have forced winter pickle into donning an additional scarf. he is contemplating long underwear. have you ever seen a pickle in long underwear? it’s a truly pitiful sight.winter_pickle_cartoon

Flesh-Eating Fish

Every one has heard about the famous fish used in pedicures that eat the dead skin off feet as an exfoliant (lovely, yes?). I have always been curious about these fish, and slightly horrified. As I entered WOW organic salon in Cape Town, imagine my excitement when the entry way revealed two large plush chairs will square aquariums at their bases, with FISH inside! I knew at once these must be the famous fish, so I opted to spend time submerging my feet and experimenting with the treatment.

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At first, the fish tickled around my feet, and anticipated being bitten. But since the fish have no teeth, this never occured. I spent a pleasant 15 minutes or so, feet submerged, while the fish swam around my feet as I read my book.

flesh_eating_fishI’m not sure how much more effective a treatment the fish are than a normal pedicure, but it was fun, recommended by the salon, and my pedicure was awesome. The excitement of the fish (my excitement not the fish’s), combined with the spacious light filled rooms, the friendly staff, make WOW an awesome sanctuary. Wildlife Sanctuary if you count the fish.

flesh_eating_fish-3DANI

Veg Veggie Burger

There’s nothing better than a quiet afternoon after the hustle and bustle of an afternoon at the hostel. I grabbed my book, sunnies (as they call them here in South Africa), and spent a quiet afternoon at Rick’s Cafe, sipping wine and eating my delicious veggie burger. Life is good. *sigh.

Happy Vegetarian Monday!

veggie_burgerveggie_burger-2veggie_burger-4DANI

Falooda so gooda!

Falooda is nectar served in a glass made by gods. Its creamy ice cream scoop surrounded by multi-colored rosewater goodness was made for sipping on a hot day— and any day for that matter. I had the great fortune to try it at a Cape Malay restaurant in Bo-Kapp, Cape Town this week.

Bo-Kapp is an awesome little district in Cape Town, where all the buildings are painting bright colors. It’s a Muslim district, and one of my friends who was walking around the district alone had the unfortunate experience of wandering into a restaurant where the owner promptly asked her where her man was. Fortunately as a group (with two men) we were able to forgo that experience.

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Falooda is typically a South Asian drink with Persian roots. It’s made with rose syrup, milk, tapioca pearls and ice cream. If you’d like to try your hand at it, here’s a recipe!

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falooda

falooda_cape_malay-4Thanks to Kevin for the photos!

goblins, quests, and my gentleman.

You may have seen his photo on here before.

surefire_eb1old_cartoon_camera

html_codingHe also founded/contributes to/works on this:

rotary house experimental – it’s his awesomely creative publishing house.

you should investigate.

This clever & handsome gentleman and I officially met at work, but it wasn’t until a work happy hour that we actually spoke to one another. We didn’t start speaking regularly until one day soon after, a group of us were walking to lunch and Matt noticed I was purposely avoiding walking on the storm drains.

cartoon_storm draincartoon_storm draincartoon_storm draincartoon_storm draincartoon_storm draincartoon_storm draincartoon_storm drain

{Matt didn’t yet realize it, but it was only a matter of time until he succumbed to my charm. and overactive imagination}

Several weeks later, Matt had lunch with a friendly squirrel named Jerry. Jerry is oh-so-much more than just a squirrel – he is in charge of protecting the portal which leads from our world into the squirrel kingdom.

black_squirrel{look at his golden tail – serious business}

Obviously, Jerry guards the portal for a reason – and over the next couple months, the truth came out. Our worlds are on the brink of an enormous goblin/squirrel war, and Matt and I had been recruited to help.

First, however, in order to make sure we were worthy of entering the portal and joining the squirrels in their fight, we had to complete quests of Jerry’s choosing. Jerry would meet with Matt, and pass along important quest details: maps, locations, objects to find. The two of us would then traipse off, clutching our maps and lists, off to find and defeat goblins.

Once, as we were trying to collect goblin currency, we were attacked: Matt brained a goblin* with a rock and I stabbed it with a tree branch.

{*Matt would visit the pre-determined location beforehand and plant paper goblins in bushes or trees, then be ‘surprised’ when we discovered them hours later. He’ll never admit to it, though : ) }

goblin_drawingOur outings were serious adventures.

On our first actual date, we drove around for hours on a warm summer night. Matt’s plan was to get lost, and get lost we did. We had a lovely time – peering out the car windows into creeks we drove past, looking for frogs with a flashlight; stopping at an old horse farm to investigate their hollow pillars and horse statue; finding old dirt roads to drive on under the moon. It was fun and silly and romantic.

I started writing this post about a month ago, and the original ending was this:

The rest – well, the rest leads us to today, several days past our seven month anniversary, and we are completely, enormously, head-over-heels happy.

that’s not the end of the story.

on the very day I started writing this post, January 21st, Matt and I had a date night.

A very special date night.

proposalproposal

proposal

proposalproposal

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cartoon_love

katie

Ethiopian Honey Wine

I’ve been traveling in Ethiopia for the past week or so, and have been offered more meat to consume than humanly possible. So it’s time for a Veggie Monday post! Meet Tej (pronounced Taaj), an Ethiopian traditional wine.

Tej is a locally brewed honey wine. In the past, families used to brew this themselves in their homes. It’s served in really neat class beakers, giving the feel of a chemistry set. It has a slightly bitter aftertaste, but is great fun to sit with friends and drink it (particularly since it’s very strong…)

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Enjoying the Tej while overlooking a lovely garden in Addis.

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The glass beaker’s lovely form.

And who knew!? There’s actually a video for how to make Tej on YouTube.

Greetings from Africa!

DANI

happy valentine’s day!

i have been unforgivably absent from the blog lately.

i DID have some sort of plague which made getting out of bed difficult, but still. no excuse.

i decided a mini project was just the thing to to properly usher myself back into the blogging world. hence: mini heart lollipops with handmade tags for co-workers for valentine’s day.

valentine's_day_lollipopfirst, i made all the handwritten tags. i then glued them onto various kinds of pretty scrap booking paper to make them festive. i punched a hole into each tag with a fork.

yes. a fork. THIS fork specifically:

fork

i strung a short length of hemp string through each hole, using the string to tie the tag onto the lollipop stem. voila! after approximately 45 minutes, i had 25 cheerful little valentine’s day greetings to pass out at work.

handmade_valentine's_day_tagshandmade_valentine's_day_tagsvalentine's_day_lollipopshappy valentine’s day!

katie

fun fact: physicians of the 1800s commonly advised their patients to eat chocolate to calm their pining for lost love.

fun fact #2: the italian city of verona, where shakespeare’s lovers romeo and juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to juliet every valentine’s day.

a squirrely greeting card.

I like making my own greeting/thank you/wedding/happy baby cards, but sometimes you find one in a store that you can’t possibly bear to leave behind.

This is quite old news now, but I found this card just before Dani left for Senegal, and it was so wonderfully appropriate I couldn’t resist. Behold, and bask in its squirrel-y glory:

squirrel_greeting_card

Immediately, I realized all the possibilities for my own handmade cards. An illustration of a squirrel won’t suffice now, no, not that I could have it dangling from a STRING with a life-size 3D acorn. Oh, the amazing world of squirrel art … friends, expect good things from your birthday cards from now on. HINT: they may or may not have tails.