June 29, 2007

Where the Hell is…

Category: travel — Cosima @ 5:11 pm

Since I am traveling tomorrow… oops today… I thought that it fits the theme. Off to bed… see you all in Berlin.

Doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun at home…

The silence before the storm

Category: da count — Cosima @ 1:10 am

dacountIt’s shortly after nine in the morning. Little man is in kindergarten. I am drinking a cup of coffee and staring alternately on my screen and into space. It’s the silence before the storm.

Today and tomorrow will be very busy days. Tomorrow night, little man and I will fly to Berlin, and there is so much to do before we get on the airplane. A mountain of emails, calls, and admin for Cosima Inc, a big birthday party for little man this afternoon (it’s not his real birthday today, we are celebrating a little bit earlier), and lots of preparing and packing for our stay in Berlin.

I am only taking little sips from my coffee cup, to draw it out a little while longer.

June 28, 2007

HNT #32: My back

Category: hnt — Cosima @ 2:24 am
My back


June 27, 2007

What’s cookin’?

Category: asia,hong kong,recipes — Cosima @ 3:01 pm

No, these are not bizarre sex toys ;D.

Neither are they weapons. Although the skin is quite tough, the inside is too soft to knock someone out with it. They are called angle luffas and taste similar to squashes, gourds, or okras.

Last week, I cooked them for the first time, and loved their texture, which is slightly different from other squashes, not as soft and soggy. Why I haven’t tried them earlier is a puzzle to me. Whenever they are in season, they are flying off the supermarket shelfs like hotcakes here in Hong Kong, and I have always been fascinated by their huge size and unusual shape… they stand out among the other veggies.

Last week, as I was standing in line to get price stickers for ginger and carrots, no less than three women in front of me were buying them, so I asked the lady in front how she prepares them. She told me to fry them in a wok with garlic. I also decided to add some ground pork and red chilies to the mixture.


At home, I peeled and cut the two luffas, deseeded and finely sliced two fresh red chilies, and also crushed four cloves of garlic with a garlic press.

Then I turned on the wok flame of my gas stove, which can heat the whole flat in winter, it’s that big. First I put some oil in the wok, and after it was hot I added half a pound of ground pork, chili, garlic, and salt. After the pork turned gray, in came the luffa. It took only a few minutes to cook them.


Mmmm… the luffa soaked up the flavor from the meat, chili, and garlic, and had such a nice texture.

While surfing around for other Asian recipes, I found the two food blogs below. The first one is written by two expat journalists living in Malaysia, and even if you are not that interested in cooking, the photos of markets, food stalls, people, and produce are worth a visit. The second blog is all about what the title promises, and also has a very good ingredients glossary for Asian foodstuffs.

Eating Asia

Real Thai Recipes

Bon Appetit!

June 25, 2007

Dunkel war’s

Category: germany,little man,poetry,sprichst du deutsch? — Cosima @ 3:29 pm

Little man and I have read Mondays at Monster School about 101 times, The Tickle Book close to 99 times, and the classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar exactly 100 times. All of them are fantastic. How can you not love a book in which little monster Fred is so nervous about his first day in school that he doesn’t want to eat his bug crispies, but overcomes his fear and has his first lesson in howling and growling, and listens to a story about a yucky prince and a nice monster? But I thought it’s time to introduce little man to something new…

It’s a poem every child in Germany knows and loves. There are several versions told, some longer, some shorter, but my dad told me this one.

It was dark, the moon shone brightly,
snow lay on green ground,
when a car, fast as lightning,
rounded slowly ‘round a bend.

Within standing people sat,
silently lost in discussion,
when a hare, shot to death,
skated on a sandbank.

And on a green bench,
which was painted red,
sat a blond-curled youth
with hair black as sooth.

In his arms an old woman,
not yet sixteen years of age,
in her hand a butter sandwich,
which was spread with lard.

All around deep silence reigned,
and with terrible noise,
play in grass’s branches
two camels silently chess.

And two fishes walked merrily
through the blue cornfield.
Finally, the sun went down
and the grey day appeared.

This poem by Goethe
wrote Schiller at night during dawn,
when he sat on his chamber pot,
reading the newspaper.

(author unknown)
German versions at wikisource

June 24, 2007

8 Habits/Facts

Category: about me,meme — Cosima @ 3:09 am

A meme is going around, thank God, I was afraid they were going out of fashion. Here are my eight random facts/habits:

1. I bite my nails. Not all the time, but when I am in a state of boredom, restlessness, or don’t know what, they can be gone in less than a minute. It freaks me out, because at the moment it’s happening, I sort of know what I am doing, but still can’t stop myself. A former date announced that it’s because I don’t receive enough love. Well, so far no one was able to stop me, and I think the only one capable of doing it is me, me alone.

2. According to this site, I have visited 18% or 42 of the world’s countries, which doesn’t say much, because it’s the experiences and memories I have from these travels that are the most important to me. If I wouldn’t be so lazy, I would write more posts about them.

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands

3. I used to be able to dive 50 meters (55 yards) without coming up for air, but doubt that I can still do it… have to try it again.

4. I started to study German law after high-school, but stopped after one semester. I realized that I am a jack-of-all-trades and would not be happy focusing only on law alone. I know it sounds strange, but I still think that laws, when written well, are the most beautiful pieces of language… simple, clear, and concise with the most potent meaning. My favorite is article 1 of the German basic law: “The dignity of man* is inviolable. To respect and protect it is the duty of all state authority.”

*In German it says Mensch, which means human being… man, woman, German, non-German, young, old, black, white, healthy, sick, …

Yeah, I know it’s a tall order and open to interpretation, but then… no, it’s actually pretty simple and clear as can be.

5. My favorite things to buy are shoes and lingerie. Shoes because they can be so pretty, and I don’t need to enter stuffy changing rooms to try them. Lingerie because there is nothing easier than putting on a beautiful piece of underwear to get me in a better mood.

6. I have never been under general anesthesia, and am very happy about that.

7. The scariest moment in my life was when four glass bottles with spoiled orange juice exploded in the boot of my car, after driving a whole day through the Arizona desert. I thought someone was shooting at me.

8. The most threatening moment in my life was when a large group of teenage boys started to taunt and touch me in the subway train, and my girlfriend next to me said “Don’t hit them. You are going to end up with a knife in your back.” I didn’t hit them, but told them what sorry pricks they were. To this day, I don’t know if it was the right thing to do. Is there a right way? They touched me even more aggressively, but left at the next station.

Despite the incident, which happened a long time ago, I like to travel on public transport. People watching is much easier when you are not sitting in your separate steel bubble.

June 22, 2007

Dragon Boat 101

Category: asia,hong kong,reviews — Cosima @ 1:52 pm

Last Tuesday, people in Hong Kong celebrated the Dragon Boat or Tuen Ng Festival, as it is called here. The festival isn’t just an excuse to have a little fun by the water-side, but commemorates the death, suicide actually, of one of China’s greatest poets, Qu Yuan (Tuen Ng in Cantonese), who lived from 340 to 278 BC.

He lived during a tumultuous era in Chinese history, known as the Warring States Period when China was divided into seven separate states, all fighting for supremacy.

He was a counselor to the king of Chu, and advocated an alliance with other states against the most powerful of the seven, Qin. However, Qu Yuan fell victim to court intrigue and was banished to exile. While living in exile, he collected folk legends and wrote poetry, rich in imagery and love for his country. When he heard of the fall of Chu’s capital into the hands of the Qin state, he committed suicide by drowning himself in a river.

It is said that villagers tried to save him by hurrying to the middle of the river in their boats. They also splashed their paddles and beat their drums to keep fish and evil spirits away. From that legend sprang the tradition of Dragon Boat Racing.

The Warring States period ended when the state of Qin dominated all others, and unified China for the first time in its history. Not surprisingly, China made great progress in the areas of weaponry and military tactics during the Warring States Period. Among others, Sun Tzu wrote his military classic The Art of War.

These days, the strife of yesteryears provides ample material for lush Chinese historic movies. When you see beautiful Maggie Cheung swirling over the screen in bellowing red robes and holding a long sword in Hero, she is in fact trying to bring down the King of Qin.

Personally, I am growing a little tired of swirling actors, but that doesn’t mean that Hero isn’t a beautiful film to watch. But make sure to rent Raise the Red Lantern and other earlier movies by director Yimou Zhang as well. Raise the Red Lantern stars equally beautiful Gong Li, and is in my opinion a far better movie.

This year, we were real sloths and didn’t go to watch the dragon boat races. To my defense, I have to say that it was really, I mean really, really hot. So I am afraid you have to go to last year’s post for a picture. We went to the swimming pool instead, to do some splashing of our own.

June 18, 2007

Sparky Monday

Category: girlie stuff — Cosima @ 5:34 am

Here is proof that girls can operate heavy tools… with minute precision… and look hot doing it. A happy and sparky Monday, Darlings!

Lecram shares the same addiction.

June 15, 2007

Da Count #27: Pencil Holder Olympics

Category: da count — Cosima @ 7:17 am

I’ll normally take any excuse to have a little break during work, but this was serious training for the pencil holder olympics.

Ready! Steady!
Clearly not yet ready for Beijing 2008…
… but working on it!

My Da Count for today is silliness, you could also call it insanity. What would my life be without it?

June 11, 2007

Let’s do it, let’s fall in love!

Category: music — Cosima @ 12:05 pm

This Cole Porter classic makes me smile whenever, I hear it. The German lyrics are a little bit different from the English ones, different animals but the overall theme is the same :D.

Hildegard Knef 1995, image: dpa

If you haven’t listened to it already, here is another song from the same excellent album Hildegard Knef singing Love For Sale.

PS to Weekend Bits: We let one of the planes fly from our balcony… To those living on the 16th floor, left side: “Don’t throw it in the trash! Let it fly!”

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