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Caviar Chips
Ludzu atnes man vienu alu?
The Present 
22nd-Aug-2014 10:32 pm - Abol Maize - Latvian Apple Bread

From: and translated by my father guntis




2 ½ cups flour (cup = 250 ml)

Flour for kneading, dough board, etc

250 ml water or milk (see notes re: kefira)

150 g butter

25 g yeast

4 tbls sugar

Pinch of salt

5 Cardamom pods or ½ tsp ground cardamom


700 – 1000 g sour apples (probably granny smith or similar) or 6 – 10 apples depending on size

2 eggs

200 – 250 ml sour cream

100 – 150 g sugar

If wanted, pats of butter


Sugar, preferably brown

Ground cinnamon


1. Mix yeast, tablespoon flour, and tablespoon warm water and let proof.

Grind the cardamom pods (mortar and pestle or spice grinder) if not using ground cardamom. In a mixing bowl add remaining dough     ingredients and mix until the dough ‘feels good’. Add the yeast mixture. Mix until the dough is not sticky (add flour if needed). Let rise 40 to 60 minutes (until about doubled).

2. Thinly slice the apples. Line a cookie sheet pan with parchment paper letting the paper cover the edges. Roll out the dough. Place in the cookie sheet so that the edges are thicker. Place the slices neatly in the center of the dough or scatter over the dough and even out the slices.

3. Blend the eggs, sour cream, and sugar. The instructions say use a fork or pastry knife to get a uniform consistency. Pour the mixture over the apples. If desired, place pats of butter over the apple/sauce mixture.

4. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar if desired.

5. Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes until the edges of the dough are brown and the apples are soft.

Dad’s comments:

I tried to translate according to the original recipe. My translation is not quite literal but gets the point across. I did not do the conversions – you should have no problem with that.

The only thing I could not find is a translation for “kefīra”. From some other reading it is a milk based product with probiotics. Further reading (just before writing this sentence) indicates that it is milk ‘soured’ with an extract from a mushroom. Buttermilk is the closest you can get over here. Since the recipe calls for kefīra, water, or milk, I’d probably go with the milk. Not sure how buttermilk would affect the dough.

The egg/sour cream/sugar mix could be done using a hand mixer to get it to the point where it can be poured over the apples.

The dough instructions say to roll out the dough and place it in the sheet pan so there’s ridge around the edges – I’d say twice as thick as the dough in the center.

How you arrange the apples is up to you. GrandMa does hers very neatly. This recipe says do it that way or just scatter the slices and level them out as best you can. How thick you slice the apples is up to you – the recipe says thin slices but does not say what this is. Use common sense.

Mostly, these are for my own reference, so I don't have to keep looking them up. :) Btw, a friend of mine swears by the deodorant. She says that even after a 4 mile run, she doesn't stink!

There's gonna be a rant here. Y'all should rather familiar with my (lack of) religious leanings by now, so fair warning. And some clarity: to my Christian friends... I love y'all and think that y'all tend to be rather awesome (your my friend - how could you not be?! *grin*). But sometimes things come across my feed and I feel the need to respond.

The article that precipitated all of this: "Just Tell Them You're Not a Christian. Nothing is Worth Dying For."

Oh. My. Fucking. What?! I agree with the headline. If someone is threatening your life, do whatever it takes to STAY ALIVE. This is your fucking LIFE. It is precious and you should do whatever it takes to protect it. (Yes, yes, if the asshole threatening your life is also threatening the lives of people you love and you need to make the sacrifice to save them, well, that's up to you. There are always extenuating circumstances. I get that. Moving on...)

I'm not saying that there's nothing that's worth dying for. Your convictions are your own and if you feel that dying is what's necessary, that's on you. But when you tell your CHILD - or let your child believe - that dying is preferable to telling a lie to live? That's some seriously fucked up BULLSHIT. Yes, yes, I am aware that I don't have kids; that I don't want kids. That, in general and as a whole, I'm not terribly fond of kids. (Yes, your kids are different - I like them. They are entertaining and well-behaved and I CAN GIVE THEM BACK TO YOU!) But I also believe that parents have a duty and responsibility to do everything in their power to protect their kids, to love their kids, and to not brainwash them into thinking that words and/or some sky-god is more important than their FUCKING LIVES.

And even if I did believe in the Christian God, and even if I believed in a loving God (which occasionally seems like a mutually exclusive thing), and I believed that "God knows what's in your heart," then I'd be perfectly fine with my kid(s) denying God with their voice if it meant that they got to see another day, if they believed in their heart in God.

But I don't. I don't believe in God. Christ. The Holy Spirit. Not at all. I think it's an out-dated way of explaining the world that is completely unsupportable by logic and reason and evidence and rationality.

And so I think that any parent who advocates death over lying is a shitty parent. A really really shitty parent.

15th-Jul-2014 11:19 pmOdds 'n' Ends
Look! You can listen to Voltaire's newest album, Raised By Bats, online FOR FREE! I love it and I hope you do, too. (And if you like it lots, consider going to cd baby or iTunes and buying a copy!) Supporting independent artists who make such fun music is a Good Thing.
9th-Mar-2013 12:41 pm - Views
So, I have been commenting on a thread on a friend of mine's facebook page and I wrote something that I think is rather well stated (prideful as that might be) and I wanted to save it and share it. We are talking about religion and the lack thereof and society and government and all sorts of hot-button stuff. The comment that inspired this post is this: "The irony is: as a Christian, I have never and would never post something critical of another's religion or lack thereof." This is my response:

I believe that being critical of others' beliefs (whether political,
religious, moral, or whatever) is important. People should be challenged
about their views, be made to actually think about them and not just
follow what someone in a pulpit, or a parent, or any other authority
figure has told them. That everything should be looked at with a
critical eye, examined from all sides. That trying to view the world
from other points of view is a worthy and necessary endeavour and can
only help promote tolerance and understanding. But just blithely
ignoring the hypocrisy and contradictions and close-mindedness in the
name of tolerance and sheer let's-all-get-alongedness is doing it wrong.
I believe that anyone who gets upset, feels attacked, or is made
uncomfortable by the mere questioning of their views is someone who
needs to take a long, hard look at what they actually believe and why.
10th-Jan-2013 02:21 am - Repurposing
Joe and I had an interesting conversation tonight at dinner and I wanted to get y'all's thoughts on the matter.

He started by observing that, with the way the economy is and the changing shopping habits of consumers (specifically, the fact that more and more people are buying their stuff on the internet), big box stores (Best Buy, Target, etc) are going to have to eventually resize their physical store fronts. They won't need such large retail spaces and that will leave lots of large buildings vacant.

So, what do we do, as a society or as the property owners, with so many empty spaces?

We have seen some of this, with the closing of the big K-marts. I know that, locally, one of the old K-mart buildings now houses a college (of cosmetology? or something). What other uses are there?

I came up with two right off the bat that would be useful to communities in general - a betterment to society.

The first is to turn them into large greenhouse type places, whether more traditional dirt growing or hydroponics or some amalgamation of both. You could go with the single owner business model, where the food is sold to local grocery stores or directly to the public. Or you could go the community garden route, where anyone who is interested can get a space and grow their own food, for personal use or for sale. Also, the parking lots are large enough that 3/4ths of them could be ripped up and used as extra planting areas, for those vegetables that don't do well inside (tomatoes, I'm lookin' at you!). There are logistical issues... how to get the proper kind of light, who is going to pay the utilities, who is going to fight the farm lobby (because you know they're gonna have issues!) if this becomes widespread, how to get people who have never even seen a pepper plant in real life to want to put in the labor to grow their own, etc. But there are benefits: local grocery stores would have better produce at a lower cost since it doesn't have to be transported. Nearly every sizable community has a big box store and enough food could probably be grown to feed a good portion of the community. Or at the very least, supplement them. It certainly is greener - less shipping means less gasoline, less wear and tear on the roads, less pollution. Because most of it would be indoors, you would probably need to use far less pesticides or herbicides (if any). Also, you would be less beholden to Mother Nature and Her whims. Drought? No problem. Excessive rain? No problem. Too hot? No problem. Too cold? No problem. Growing season too short? No problem. Indoors, it's all climate controlled.

My second thought is to parcel the interior into 9 areas, grid-style, and use the building as family-oriented micro-communities. The buildings are tall enough that you could put 8 two-story apartments (or 16 one-story apartments on two floors) around the perimeter of the building and use the center area as a common area. A safe, indoor play area for children, a nice place to relax and lounge for the adults. Again, the parking lots are large enough that 3/4ths could be ripped out and replaced with an outdoor play space. Or trees. :) The locations of these big box stores are ideal: close to all sorts of other retail establishments and, usually, close to major roads or highways. The buildings are already wired for electricity, and have water and sewer hookups. Yes, you're going to have to gut the place and put in a lot of work, but it would be worth it, I think. The rent would be a little higher than your average apartment, but that's offset by location, safety, and the fact that the apartments would be twice the square footage of your average apartment (at least, the 2-story ones would be).

Do you have any other ideas? I would love to hear them.
1st-Jan-2013 08:26 pm - Poetry
I wrote this near the beginning of my relationship with Joe. I remember feeling insecure and full of doubts. It was February of 2000 and I was 21. Joe was my first boyfriend, ever. My first real kiss. I wrote this while sitting outside my folks' house, in the woods. I believe we were having a birthday get-together for my sister, Katy, and our friend, William, who happen to share a birthday. From my spot on the ground, I was just close enough to see into the big window and watch them all socializing in the warmth and brightness of the living room. I pretty much wrote it by the light of that window and my lighter and the moon. There is no editing to this... this is exactly how I wrote it that night. It has no title. And it's rather emo and I can't believe I'm actually posting this. I don't do poetry very often. As a matter of fact, I believe this was the last poem I've written. Certainly the most personal.

Towards the end, William actually came outside looking for me, asking me what was wrong. We had a wonderful talk; he was incredibly comforting and gives great hugs. I can't remember if I let him read this.

Click for this (long) poem.Collapse )
3rd-Jul-2012 06:17 pm - Oi. Bigots piss me off.
I hate dealing with racist people at work. There's nothing you can say without it becoming this big thing and then potentially losing your job. And since it's unlikely I'm going to change a person's mind in the course of one short customer/employee interaction, I choose the route of keeping my job. It does make me feel ashamed of myself, that I don't say something. But I need the job and the money. Here's what happened...

A nice looking lady - probably mid-60's - came up to me and asked where our Scrabble dictionaries were. I was happy to show her: I love Scrabble and I'm always up for enabling the playing of more Scrabble. I didn't bother to look it up first, because I knew where it was shelved. I took her straight to the section, but there weren't any of the cheaper formats on the shelf. I told her to stay there and I'd go look it up and see if any had come in recently. We were sold out. Darn.

When I got back to her, I gave her the bad news. She then pointed to another book on the shelf, one about Scrabble. She grabs the book down off the shelf and points at the author's name. "What's this?" "Um. I have not read anything by him." *still a little confused by the question, but dreading where this conversation is going* The book is the SCRABBLE Word Building Book by Saleem Ahmed.

She says, "I have a problem with the English language..." *at this point, I think that maybe she's about to tell me some inspiring story about how Scrabble helped her overcome some language difficulty she'd had...* *such wishful thinking on my part* "...being written about by a Saleem Ahmed." The malicious emphasis she put on the author's name left no doubt about, exactly, she was thinking. I couldn't do anything but look at her and let my jaw drop. And excuse myself as best as I could.

As many times as I've heard similar things from customers over the years, it still always takes me by surprise. Seriously! What makes people think they can say things like that to perfect strangers??? Is it because we're both white? Is it because she goes to church with one of my co-workers and she assumes we all think alike? [NOTE: I do not think my co-worker is a racist or a bigot!]

Unfortunately, I am not the fastest thinker, especially if the situation is as fraught with danger as this one. I wish I could say something as simple as, "I disagree." But that still opens a whole potential can of worms, if she decides to push it. And the next thing I'd know, I'd be in a manager's office having a conference about how I should behave around customers. I don't want that; like I said above, I need this job right now.

Thinking back over that incident during the day, there are a couple of observations I'd like to make.
1. The woman was wearing an ostentatiously huge crucifix. Not just a cross... nope, this one had Jesus hanging from the nails in all His glory (except for the bit covered by the loin cloth, because of course the Romans were totally concerned about the morals and modesty of the criminals they were crucifying...). I'd like to point out to the woman that Jesus was a Middle Easterner. His skin color was likely similar to what she assumes Saleem Ahmed's is.
2. Of course, that's an assumption. I'd also like to point out to her that Saleem could very well be a 4th generation American with a thick New York accent. I don't know. She doesn't know.
3. Also, I have a foreign last name. Does that mean that I shouldn't get to write about the English language? Or maybe it's ok, since I have a "normal" first name? So, then should my grandparents not be allowed to write about the English language? Or my dad? Oh. That's right. We're white. It's all ok if you're white. *sigh* Fuck that shit, dude. 

tl;dr Bigots suck.

On a side note, this also happened today. I laughed. Girl asks for Hemingway's A Moveable Feast. Opens it up, flips through it, says, "Oh, man. It's in black and white." Fucking hell, man. Seriously??!
30th-Jan-2012 11:13 pm - MEME
Stolen from all sorts of people. Read carefully; instructions may have changed. :)

Kind of want to see who is actively reading my posts, so, if you read this, leave me a one-word comment about your day that starts with the 4th letter (because I'm sure you're all tired of figuring out different words for so many journals that start with your 3rd letter!) of your LJ USERNAME. Only one word please, then repost so I can leave a word for you.
6th-Jan-2012 11:55 pm - For Goddess of Birth

Will this do?

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