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May 15, 2019

another trio of embassies
posted by soe 1:59 am

Saturday afternoon, Rudi and I headed out to take advantage of the European Union Open House and managed to fit in three embassies:


Maltese Embassy

The Maltese Embassy is nearby and opened its doors to the public. Its emphasis was on the role Malta played in 1945, when they played host to Churchill and Roosevelt as they planned the final stages of World War II, as well as on the rescue of the SS Ohio, a tanker under the British flag carrying oil to Malta for anti-Axis activities.

The Czech Republic

Czech Embassy

Next we headed uptown to the Czech Republic’s embassy, located in rolling forestland along Rock Creek Park. They were celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which marked the end of Communism in the nation.

We went inside the chancery and got to experience augmented/virtual reality exhibits on the Communist gulags, which was very cool. We picked up some jam from a Czech baker and an English translation of Viktor Dyk’s classic folk adaptation of the story of the Pied Piper, The Ratcatcher, before heading outside so Rudi could enjoy a pilsner. We then headed up the hill to the ambassador’s grand stone residence, nestled amongst the trees.

Czech Ambassador's Residence

Czech Residence

The ambassador was busy chatting with some Czech-Americans, so we didn’t get a chance to say hello, but we did get to peer around the first floor and admire some of the treasures and artwork and old maps. Some of the most beautiful were the Bohemian crystal chandeliers and sconces, each of which was commissioned for the residence.

Czech Crystal


Unfortunately, because we were so enjoying ourselves in the Czech Republic, we did not leave ourselves enough time to get over to the Dutch embassy before the event concluded. We were feeling slightly peckish, though, and I recalled that the Hungarian embassy, which we visited in 2013, had at that time featured snacks. Since it was just across the street, we wandered over and they confirmed their event would continue on an extra half hour. So we walked out back, where they were selling a variety of Hungarian snacks, including kurtosh kalach, a type of cake cooked using a spit.

The dough is rolled thin and then wound around a wooden cylinder attached to a long handle. It’s allowed to rise for a few minutes and then is put into an oven for ten minutes or so. When it comes out, it’s rolled in cinnamon or sugar or walnuts before it’s taken off its spit. It’s then allowed to cool slightly and you can fill it with a spread.

I opted for cinnamon flavored with maple cream spread inside, while Rudi opted for plain filled with imported Nutella. Both were delicious!

Hungarian Bakers

Hungarian Treat

While we were waiting, we got to enjoy watching Hungarian folk musicians and dancers perform. This guy, in particular, was excellent! It was a great way to conclude our 2019 tour of embassies!

Hungarian Folk Dancing

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May 14, 2019

favorite book-to-screen adaptations
posted by soe 1:20 am

Bout of Books
First off, today’s post is not only my entry into Top Ten Tuesday at That Artsy Reader Girl, but also my sign-up for Bout of Books, which began today.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01 a.m. Monday, May 13th, and runs through Sunday, May 19th, in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, Twitter chats, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 25 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Today’s Bout of Books prompt asks us to share our bookish favorites. Since this week’s Top Ten Tuesday relates to books and movies, I thought I’d share ten of my favorite book-to-screen adaptations (these aren’t really in any particular order):

  1. The Princess Bride
  2. The Wizard of Oz
  3. The Thin Man
  4. Pride and Prejudice (1995)
  5. The Fellowship of the Ring
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird
  7. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  8. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (if for no other reason than the once-in-a-lifetime casting job of so many actors who went on to embody the roles for us)
  9. Crazy Rich Asians
  10. The Sun Is Also a Star (Rudi and I just saw this tonight, and it opens on Friday. Starring Yara Shahidi (who plays the oldest daughter on black’ish) and Charles Melton (who portrays Reggie on Riverdale from the second season on), this love letter to New York City and love itself remains faithful to the feeling of Nicola Yoon’s novel, if not always to the details from the page. Gone are the intertwined stories of tertiary characters and Natasha’s relationship with her dad, but excising those bits does allow you to focus solely on Natasha and Daniel’s single glorious day. If you enjoyed this book, I think you should give the film a shot, if only for the cinematography of modern New York City.

How about you? Do you have favorite movie adaptations of books? Or are you page-only all the way?

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May 13, 2019

band meme
posted by soe 1:01 am

A meme went around Twitter over the weekend that I thought would be fun to bring to the blog:

List five bands/artists that you’ve seen at a gig/concert and one lie. People leave a reply with who they think the lie is.

Here’s the list I Tweeted out of acts that were around in the 1980s:

  1. Robert Plant
  2. Mannheim Steamroller
  3. Tracy Chapman
  4. The Who
  5. Debbie Gibson
  6. Bon Jovi

Can you guess which one I haven’t seen?

Shall we try one more? Here are some acts from the 1960s and 1970s:

  1. Simon & Garfunkel
  2. Peter, Paul, & Mary
  3. Crosby, Stills, & Nash
  4. Joni Mitchell
  5. Fleetwood Mac
  6. Beach Boys

Leave your guesses for which ones I haven’t seen and your own list if you’d like to play along in the comments.

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May 12, 2019

posted by soe 1:53 am

Resplendent Rose

Rudi and I got caught out in the rain this afternoon. Since we were already wet, we strolled leisurely through the nearby neighborhoods, stopping to admire row house gardens and flowering bushes.

This rose was the prettiest we saw all day, but it didn’t have a particularly rosy scent, so it cannot take home the best-in-show blue ribbon.

But it certainly was stunning to look at.

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May 11, 2019

early may weekend planning
posted by soe 1:52 am

It’s supposed to rain off and on all weekend, with more on than off. Regardless, here are some things I’m hoping to accomplish:

  • Call my mom and Rudi’s.
  • Visit a couple European embassies. I think I’m down to only four I haven’t stopped by at one point or another — Netherlands (and even then, I’m pretty sure we caught them one year when they were renovating and hosting events in another building), Ireland, Malta, Portugal, and the Czech Republic. We’ll see if I can cross any of them off tomorrow.
  • Watch the Funk Parade. Don’t you wish your town had a parade dedicated to fun dance music?
  • Get the plants I bought last Sunday in the ground. The garden is going to be awfully muddy, though, so this one just might not happen.
  • Buy strawberries at the farmers market. Optimistically the rain could keep people away and I could get a great deal on a bulk buy. More likely is that it’s Mother’s Day and there will be no strawberries left by 9:15.
  • Send out some resumes.
  • Mull over buying a new suit for interviews. First, dig out my most recent suits and see if either of them fit. Since I bought them more than a decade ago, I’m not optimistic.
  • Switch out my winter and summer wardrobes. I’ve started to do this a couple times, which realistically just means I currently have piles of all sorts of clothes all over the apartment.
  • Make strawberry shortcake.
  • See if I can fix my beloved bike helmet. (Part of the adjuster dial popped off the back band.) At the very least I think I should be able to make it a set size (which will then only mean I can’t wear a high ponytail or a hat under it). If not, see if the helmet that Rudi says is too big for him will fit me. It gave me a headache when I tried it on, but that could just have been all the strap tugging. If none of those things work, order the new helmet I found.
  • Spend time with Rudi.
  • Paint my nails.

What are you hoping your weekend includes?

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May 10, 2019

making friends, arnie, and preview
posted by soe 1:59 am


Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. The woman from my volleyball team and I finally got together for coffee this week. Then we went out for beers (full disclosure, I drink neither beer nor coffee) after our game tonight and our partners joined us.

2. One of the coffeehouses I like to frequent has Arnold Palmers on their menu and I decided to order one this week. They use frozen lemonade, so the drink was delightfully slushy.

3. My second movie screening this week worked out far better than the first. Poms was a charming look at female friendship and persevering when it would be easier to give up. It’s not a great film — it asks a few bigger questions (about multigenerational families and about adult children parenting their parents), yet never bothers to answer them, and most of the characters aren’t fully three-dimensional — but it was an enjoyable way to pass a couple hours and most of the audience (predominantly older women themselves) seemed to agree.

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world lately?

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