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Not bad for a blog that isn’t a year old yet (January 2013).  This is a smorgasbord post of things and stuff, starting with this:

Image Source: Tumblr blog “The Fall of Rome”

Isn’t that the most gorgeous rose? It’s for real, folks. Described as: “a Hybrid Tea, or large-flowered bush rose with an upright habit, dark green leaves and, in summer and autumn, fragrant, double flowers with deep red inside the petals and silver-white on the outside of each petal.” Not only that, but wouldn’t “Osiria Rose” make a lovely name for a girl?

Lipton Spiced Cinnamon Chai and apple juice is heavenly.  I’m having some now, about half and half. I brewed half a glass of the tea in one of my heavy blue glass tumblers (the glass is over 1/8-inch thick), and heated the apple juice in the microwave before I added it. (Caution: The two liquids need to be roughly the same temperature when you combine them, otherwise adding that much cold to hot or hot to cold causes a sudden change in temperature that might shatter your cup or glass.)  I like it so much, I’m going to go make a carafe full when I finish the glass.

I’m listening to Nirvana internet radio’s Relaxation channel, which features what I call “floaty” music — soft, melodic, with no percussion at all.  Very soothing, tranquil, and delightful.  The perfect music for sewing, reading, blogging, watching scenery, having a nice hot soak in the tub, or just generally chilling out. . .  If you’d like to give it a listen, go here to tune in.  The Nirvana website supports Winamp, Windows Media Player, RealPlayer and Quicktime, but it wants a plug-in that I apparently don’t have.  I did an end run around this problem by going through the Internet Radio website, which gives you a choice of using Flash Player, Windows Media Player, Winamp, iTunes or RealPlayer to stream their music.  Just click on the appropriate icon. These programs can all be downloaded for free.

If you use Wiindows 7, use Windows Media Player (WMP) to stream music from internet radio, and have several different stations and or station channels you like to listen to, rather than bookmark the stations and access them through your browser, try this:   Make a folder on your desktop (position your mouse pointer on your desktop, right click, choose “New” and “Folder” and give the folder an appropriate name).  Next, open your browser and go to the website of your internet radio station of choice.  Hover your mouse pointer over what you click on to start streaming, and right click.  Choose “Save Link As” and save the link to your desktop folder.  Compatible files will end in either .asx  or .m3u file extensions.   WMP treats these files the same way as it does one of your WMP playlists.  You’ll want to rename the file (the same way you would any file) using the name of the radio station and channel, so you’ll be able to tell which one is which — be careful not to write over the file extension!  This way you don’t have to open your browser.  You just open the folder on your desktop and click on the link you want.  The WMP program opens and starts streaming.  In my “Players” folder,  I also have shortcuts for Windows Media Player, Rhapsody and a link to my Squeezebox server.  It’s my “one-stop-shop” for music on my computer.

I’ve just downloaded this free internet radio app for Kindle Fire (and other Android devices) called “Tune-In” that allows you to access AM/FM radio as well as internet radio, news and sports feeds, podcasts, etc.  It apparently also offers the capability to make “presets” of your favorite stations.  If it works as advertised, and if I can get “my” stations using it, I will be a happy camper.  Stay tuned.  (Edit: I could find Stillstream, Radio Gaia, and Mind Potion Radio on their list of stations, but not Nirvana, or Blue Mars — I haven’t tried using it through the Kindle yet.  Tune-in has an app for my Squeezebox internet radio, too, which I just enabled, but I haven’t used it yet either.)

It’s leftover turkey, dressing and jellied cranberry sauce for lunch.  My mom’s wonderful cornbread dressing.  I have this thing where I spear a small morsel of dressing, a small morsel of cranberry sauce and a small morsel of turkey on a fork and eat it as one combined bite.  To my mouth, the taste of the three of them combined is 3 times better than each individual taste.  Chacun, as they say.  It’s a taste that is fraught with memories.

Podstakannik with matching spoon, Image Source Wikipedia Commons

A Russian lady I once knew told of drinking tea from glasses in “podstakanniki”  (подстаканники), metal holders with handles, brewed with water heated in a samovar (самовар).  They drank zavarka (заварка), a strong tea concentrate.  The procedure was to pour oneself a glass of tea, place a cube of sugar in one’s cheek, and slowly sip the tea, allowing the hot tea to melt some of the sugar to sweeten it.  She also told of putting a spoonful of jelly into the hot tea, which melted and sweetened it.  Tea glasses come in sets consisting of podstakanniki and matching spoons, which can be purchased with or without glasses.  A set of pretty podstakanniki with matching spoons was traditionally given as a wedding present by one relative with a set of glasses given by another relative.  The glasses were also used by themselves for alcoholic beverages, like vodka, which is traditionally drunk neat

Agnes Morehead Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

I’m sure living in the starvation conditions of the siege for 900 days had as much to do with it as her habit of drinking tea this way, but when I knew her (in her late 40’s), all of her molars were decayed to the point they had to be extracted.  She was a remarkable lady.  In appearance, she reminded me a great deal of Agnes Morehead.  She had dark, dark auburn hair, this wonderful Lenningrad drawl, and a wry, ironic sense of humor.  I was living in Monterey, California, when I knew her.  Periodically, she would mention that she had spoken with her father by telephone (he still lived in Leningrad), and tell us what he said the temperature was there.  Needless to say, there was usually a significant difference.  She refused to have a washing machine in her house, and paid a lady to do her laundry for her because the sound of a washing machine in operation reminded her of the engines of the Nazi planes that regularly strafed and bombed the city.   Of course, when I say “Leningrad,” I’m speaking of “Peter’s City” — St. Petersburg. The Soviets changed the name in 1924, and in 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union, it was changed back.  I don’t blame them.  (N.B. I googled her name just now, and discovered she’s still living in Monterey, California, is aged 84, and has written her> autobiography.  There’s 6 copies available on Amazon.  Payday is next week.  God, I love the internet.

I have a pair of podstakanniki with glasses that I bought in a charity shop when I lived in Berlin, Germany.  They are chrome coated steel, but most of the chrome has worn off.     (I also have some teaspoons from Berlin, but they are plain and unadorned.)  Although the podstakanniki were “well loved” and the glasses didn’t match, I liked them, and the price was right. They bring back memories of an exciting time in my life and they reminded me of the Russian lady I knew, who was indirectly responsible for my going to Berlin, but that’s another story. . . .

I’ve made a carafe full of the Lipton Spice Cinnamon Chai with apple juice.   I’d saved the heels from the loaf before this in a baggie in the refrigerator.  Just now, I buttered them, then minced some turkey to sprinkle on them, sprinkled on some chopped black olives and a little chopped onion, sprinkled some shredded Mexican Four Cheeses on them, and nuked them. (Supper.) Kind of a turkey pizza-cumchalupa.  I’ve already snarfed down half of one heel.  I use the heels because they hold up better under the weight of the toppings even when softened by the melted butter.  Two little “pizzalupas” are just about right.  Top it off with a container of raspberry yogurt, and there you are.

I’m technically “at work” although there hasn’t been much work today.  With my KVM switch, I  have two computers connected to the same keyboard, monitor and mouse.  I can have both computers on and switch back and forth between them simply by pressing CTRL-CTRL.  Makes it easy for me to nip over to my work computer to check to see if there’s any work and, if not, I can go back to whatever I was doing on my “play” computer — like writing my 200th blog post!  However, I see there’s work now, so I had better post this and get busy!