Thursday, November 23, 2023

chocolate chip cookie recipe

 just for posterity, although I probably already put it on here

1 cup salted butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar, packed

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 cups chocolate chips

375 degree preheated oven

8 to 10 minutes until just BARELY browned on bottom

let sit 2 minutes on pan outside oven, transfer to cooler sheet lined with parchment paper

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Three butter baking recipes for the Fall and Winter cake cookies


It is winter, and a good time to bake, and have the butter cookies and cakes to snack on through the colder days, also good for holidays and for special dinners


 Butter Cake

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1 large egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole milk

cream butter, sugar add egg and vanilla, mix others in separate bowl and well combine, then put in glass or ceramic container in oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until fork comes clean and top is nicely golden and brown in small points

serve warm immediately if possible, if not : place in OFF oven with a bowl of water or cover with aluminum foil on stovetop to cool down - serve with fruit over the top, warmed pie cherries, apples or peaches in their natural syrup


Sugar Cookie

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

mix these together well with a bit of cinnamon

cream 1 cup softened butter with 1 cup sugar, 1 large egg and 1 tbsp vanilla extract 

add a tiny bit of milk to the proper consistency, not too much

form small balls, 1 coffee teaspoon full and place well apart on ungreased pan, you may smash them down a bit with a fork (crispier, watch them closer, they are flatter to begin with), or not (take longer, be more dome-shaped)

bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until beginning to brown underneath but not on top 

remove to parchment paper on pan and let cool before storing

(Mark wants to add nut flours to this recipe and I'm not sure how that will work - will see and add recipe that worked to this later if it is good)

We mashed up six to eight brazil nuts in a mortar and pestle and added the sticky mash to the sugar and butter mixture to make a second batch of cookies


Banana 'Pudding' cake (No butter, good to make use of bananas before they go off)

2 nearly overripe bananas (softened, starting to get black streak, not so soft they fall apart when peeled)

mash in the bottom of a ceramic pie pan, add 3 large chicken eggs and break yolks, add a few tablespoons of white sugar, splash of whole milk, dash x 2 of salt over top - mix well

add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of brown rice flour (depends on the milk earlier) and a shred of well crushed baking powder - consistency should be that of slightly thicker pancake batter, may add a handful of chocolate chips or nuts, but not too much as the batter is fairly thin in the pie pan

let sit for 5 minutes on countertop while oven heats to 350 degrees - to allow the baking powder to start to form small bubbles in surface

when oven has heated, place inside and bake for 40 minutes or so, until the edge at the pan begins to show browning, and fork comes clean in middle

let cool, and cut, store in refrigerator

Monday, November 20, 2023

cats reluctantly inside from the rain

 Minion and Lyffan curled up during a cold rainstorm outside


Lyffan is sleeping on the little woven mat I made and placed on the footstool


Wednesday, November 08, 2023

There is another 'off' day to compare to, but I crashed very early because it was just a very hard week here...  working on Welsh and French this morning, will check out that picture game again with the Lithuanian -  planning to tune into a Youtube channel later - looks like I'm not getting called in.  This weekend will be a lot of running around at work because it is a holiday for some which means extra running for us.  The multilingual Youtube I watched yesterday was Lombard (a language in northern Italy, near Milan), French, Spanish and Romanian all trying to translate things each other was saying in a guessing game - it was very interesting!

Sweetie and Minerva are sisters, and they both want to sleep on the couch


pretty leaves on the way back from the mailbox

 onigiri rice balls made yesterday

Minerva wanted to eat them.. all the other dogs were interested in Mark's potato chips.  He pointed out to me as I was forming them in my hands out of the rice pan that Minerva was pointed at me, and all the other dogs were pointed at him.


Brown rice, washed and cooked with a touch of rice wine vinegar in the water.

let cool just a little bit, then mix in sugar, more rice wine vinegar, and salt

let cool a little bit more

take large spoonfuls of rice and press them together with wet palms spread with salt back and forth until they form balls (rice is still kind of hot, some people use plastic molds for this), set down in container and place Nori or other seaweed strip on top, cover in white sesame seeds, place in refrigerator for eating later with wasabi and soy sauce and possibly red curry paste.


November 2023, vs July 2023, vs December 2022 

Since they initiated the hearts system on me I haven't been advancing very fast - but I know that Japanese has gone from level 10 to 'level 19' in that time, so their original system is not working there...

old crown numbers here because that is what I was keeping track in before they changed THAT system last year... to levels, and now they've changed it yet again to 'sections and units'  //roll eyes, just pick something and stick with it!


French           475 /  464  / 417

Welsh            376 /  370  / 360

Spanish         309 /  294  / 243

Czech           169 /   169  / 160

Romanian     149 /  149  / 144

Portuguese     111 / 111  / 89

Italian             91  /  91  / 83

Japanese       77 ??  /   77  / 65 (not right, I've advanced 9 levels)

Greek             74  /  72  / 61

German       80 /  79  / 60

Finnish       71 /   70  / 62

Norwegian   67 /   67  / 47

Swedish       43 /  43  / 43

Irish             51 / 51  /  51

Turkish         39 / 39  / 38

Catalan        38 /  34  / 23 * (learning via Spanish language)

Polish         30/    30  / 30

Hungarian    26 / 26  / 21

Ukrainian    19 /  19   / 0 (began April)

Guarani         7 / 6  / 0 (began April) * (learning via Spanish language)

Chinese         11 / 4  / 0 (began July)


external : Latvian, working on just a little of it here and there

Monday, November 06, 2023

Two workdays language geek


As a part-time postal carrier my work week revolves around the weekends, when the full-timers are usually off.  I work during the week sometimes, sometimes I work the entire week with no days off... but it's all sort of up in the air and week to week I'm not sure of anything except - I'm usually working the weekend unless I arrange for something else to happen.  Also - I passed two years on DuoLingo streak the other day... but since the hearts upgrade I'm still quite unhappy with how sensitive the spelling and such is and how much that stagnates my progress.


So, this is Saturday and Sunday.  My daughter's birthday was on Saturday but we did things for her on Friday because I knew Saturday was going to be a full day with getting dark early etc etc..

 So I got home, we made dinner and watched a movie and did the dishes and I did a minimum amount of a few languages and crashed.  That is a typical Saturday.. yes. 


Sunday I run Amazon packages, and it starts a little later.  It was also Daylight Savings Time so my animals had me up 'early'.. and I got a little language work in because hey, I was up anyway.  Made dinner after work, watched some tv episodes on DVD, did a few language things and played a game, then crashed.. took a Welsh grammar lesson in the middle of the night when the dog had me up, but I failed it by two questions and have to retake it when my credits on that site pop back up. *sigh*  One 'cat's tail' apostrophe in the wrong place or a ddim () nawr instead of a erbyn hyn and it goes down.

I haven't been called in yet on Monday, and my chart is up in the other screen.  I only do the charts for a little bit, and it gives me an idea what my 'average' is... and how much I switch off for variety.  It's also been a stressful few weeks and I realize I fall back to doing more in French at times when I have stress - the grammar level is much much higher than the Spanish or the Japanese, but still, my brain likes it better and starts sub-translating more again as below:

On the route - aucun côté ou autre côté?  Ah!  Na ça va... ça va a ci.

I have no idea why I think aucun côté instead of something like 'ce côté' or 'mon côté' or even 'pas du côté' but it's in my brain that way when I don't have to go the other side of the vehicle and I think it's a mnemonic thing that the two terms 'aucun' and 'autre' feel right and left handed pair to me...

Friday, November 03, 2023

Language geek

I did a few of these charts last year or more ago, just to see how often I return to the activities / switch the activities over the day and was just as surprised then how much I switch all through the day in almost spirals.  They say this 'spaced repetition' is all the rage, but I've been doing it for years.

Typical language geeking while off from post office today, did my Japanese Kanji reviews and a bit of DuoLingo in Japanese and Spanish first thing in the morning. I also took some time to browse and read hiragana and kanji and look up things on signs and advertisements and images that I could not read at first. I took some French tests, Japanese and Spanish review sessions and then played Stardew Valley for an hour in French... and a bit more here and there waiting for things over the day.  I was playing it in Japanese here and there, as well, a few weeks ago.

We took Esme out for her birthday dinner after school and also picked up the truck from the mechanic.  It still doesn't feel 100%, but we'll still have to see.  Then I finished the laundry and crashed when we got home, because it is cold and it felt like it had been a long day already.
As usual, when the animals wake me up in the night I spend a little time on some language waiting for them to cycle in and out of the house and getting ready to fall back asleep.  I don't do this on my phone, but at the computer desk.
Friday : a non-work day : it is now 1:45 am on Saturday (at update)

Saturday and Sunday will both be 'work' days... we'll see how that goes

The Random Light


The Random Light

Step out of your comfort zone, before it steps out of you…”

story by Marie Lamb


I have sat in the same seat on the subway, give or take, for the past three years. I sit with my shopping bag held defensively in front of me and watch the crowd pass in and out of the automatic doors. I listen to the familiar voice of the driver and count the stops until home. I know what every stop looks like, through the wet and the dry, with people in their coats and Christmas decorations, tourists and schoolchildren and elderly people and guide dogs alike trying to stay cool in the baking heat of summer. So, this last week, I knew that the random light I was seeing on Drake Street was not normal. I would have seen it before. And I could not remember, in any of the times having passed that stop, having seen it before.

It wasn’t really random. But, it shouldn’t be there. As far as I could ever tell that wall was solid brick. Beyond it was probably machinery or compacted dirt - definitely nothing of notice. The first few times I mostly ignored it. But, it wasn’t really very easy to ignore. It reached out with fingers across the subway station even at speed, and yanked at my awareness. Now, this light had my full attention. I could almost hear it, almost feel it, almost taste it. It was like remembering tea - herbal and citrus. Even though I denied it, there was something there calling to me. Tonight, I had been looking for it ever since I got onto the train. I had been telling myself it wasn’t really there. Deep down, there was a hope within me that it actually was.


My shopping bag shook and rattled. It was vibrating as if something with tiny feet was running back and forth at the bottom of it. I was just about to open it up and take a look with my cell phone camera when a lady with a red jacket brushed by me. As I looked up the random light was shining through the windows with such intensity it took my breath away. The urge to go see it was so strong that, even though this was not my stop, when the driver called ‘Drake Street’ I found myself rising with the small crowd, bag in hand, edging towards the doors. I thought hard about calling Alec and telling him I would be delayed, but I was just too absorbed. My eyes were on the light.

I stepped down from the car onto the platform and looked around. The few passengers that had exited with me were already on their way, down the side trail, up the stairs, waiting for another train. I felt silly, and more than a bit worried about breaking my routine. What would Alec say, when I finally arrived home? Would he not even wait that long, but call me a few minutes after six, worried to death? But even as I thought these thoughts, the amber pink light seemed to glow more intensely. I could see it stretching out golden tendrils like I have only ever seen before in fairy tale books. I was encountering magic. It had to be. And I could not even gather up a third of me to run away from it.

My feet were moving without my head telling them to. I stood in front of the wall and stared hard at the glowing light. I dropped my shopping bag to the ground. It rocked and swayed before coming to a balance. My jacket and hat were discarded next, untidily onto the ground. There was no common sense to this. My very shoes started to be too binding, but the ground was fading away and it no longer mattered. I tried to lean my hand upon the wall but it seemed to melt into it like warm frosting. I had one shoe on and one off. I should be mortified, worried about who was watching, but I couldn’t even turn my head to look around.

I leaned in further and began to taste the joy radiating off the threshold. The glow was intense and surrounded me like peach ice cream on the hottest beach vacation with caramel sauce and brandy. The air had grown hushed and close, like cotton around my ears. I held my breath and did not feel the need to breathe again. The brick surface turned to warm sand under my fingers and then broke away in a crystalline surface, thin like brittle wax, melting around me and pulling me through the soft silk of summer.

There was a cascading of feathers and soft grasses that came down around my face. The golden light was everywhere and piercing my very skin to share in its glowing. I swam through honeyed sound and silken waves like a child’s timeworn blanket on a safe warm bed. I remember the light turning from gold to white, and the air solidified around me like a grid. The warmth melted away to rest only within myself, pooling down into my center like a warm glut of rich and satisfying soup. I felt myself slowly released from the pull to rest upon the ground, clear and open and relaxed. I did not even have the energy to pull my head up on my shoulders. I lay there, listening to the sifting of the sands and the crackling of the air.

It took a moment for my vision to focus. I was looking at a pair of shoes. My own shoes, on legs wearing my hose, and a hand carrying my bag. I looked all the way up to a mass of brown curls that were conveniently looking the other direction. I wondered if I was imagining myself in two places at once? The other me turned and reached for me. Things were happening so quickly. I tried to twist and turn limbs that were not responding, and ended up only turning in circles three times over. I could not fathom how she picked me up with one hand and dropped me, small and fuzzy, into the white shopping bag.

She opened the bag and stared at me for a long moment. I froze completely still, a tiny yowl caught in my throat. My whiskers were twitching, and I wanted to scratch her with a vengeance. Her eyes were too green, but they began to equalize, less catlike and more like I remembered my own human eyes. As she closed the bag and began to walk in a rhythmic swaying, I heard my phone snap open. She said ‘Yes Alec, don’t worry. I just got off at the wrong stop. No, I don’t know how, it was all in a rush. I even lost a shoe! I’ll be home soon, love, there’s a little someone you should meet…. I think you’ll be the best of friends.”

Thursday, November 02, 2023


 It is almost birthday time for Esme.

Just a quick update of the past week or so.  It has turned cold and below freezing in the mornings.  I am still trying to get my mail truck sorted - it has been more than a month that I have not been able to run it on a route and I am doing only my normal company vehicle routes - but I would like to be available to make more money with it.  I am attempting to make some more little dolls to bring to the gallery in Camden The DayLight Gallery... I have only updated the display there twice this year and the knitting hurts my hands if I do it too fast.

I made this TeePublic site because Mark asked me to - the Be Brave Lion is something I drew for handing out stickers and magnets at the shows I went to - to encourage people through example of hey I'm such an introvert this is really hard for me but Be Brave, and put yourself out there --->

I started this little bear / cat yesterday, and have part of the body finished today.



And I began reading a book Esme got from the library last year - In The Hall of the Dragon King, 1982, author Lawhead  // this beside The Red Pyramid, by Rick Riordan

I am still working on Japanese, Spanish and to top out my Welsh.  I looked at what translator jobs there are floating around and they are mostly in Japanese and Spanish - neither of which I feel well enough advanced in to actually try for anything.  Mark asked why I didn't look for a job in French or Welsh translation - because *roll eyes* I didn't see any.  I wouldn't this side of Canada and the U.K... really.  The market, if I'm doing any of this for 'the market', is in the Japanese and Spanish, both of which I've really just started on the journey within the past two years - if you're counting actual retention and branching out into grammar (Spanish) and kanji (Japanese).

I feel a bit trapped by how distant we are from any little town for a job - much less one of the ones an hour drive one way -even if I am just thinking about a grocery or manufacturing job, I have this drive to 'be there' and 'work hard' that I've been told is too much - I care too much - and I hang on too tightly to things depending on myself to do them with some intense level that others see as 'ridiculous' at times.  I don't know why I'm built this way.  It has to be for something?  Post office seems to have helped because I really like getting the job done and knowing everyone got their mail and packages today.. but there is the vehicle to worry about, and without my own vehicle, I'm only eligible for half the routes I have memorized - and I can memorize like nobody's business... so I just have to get the vehicle part worked out or decide when enough is enough and go back to something a bit more soul-sucking where my .. natural inborn diligence??... is not going to get in the way - that sounds absurd, but it feels like that, and even if I say 'I can tone that down, I can not care so much' it's like saying I'm going to suddenly be a social butterfly, not going to happen no matter how many times I try.  I'm woven out of this strange string.

and the winters have gotten so intense here in the past few years there have been days I could not get into town to work at all and had to call in.  Mark says I take that too seriously - other people would just shrug and say 'oh well' and not consider it.  I look at the jobs and say 'do I even want to take that job if in the winter, a few weeks, I might have to call in?'... Mark sees that as a bad way to think.  I wouldn't even really be thinking, perhaps, about other jobs if my truck wasn't 1.) costing money and still not working and 2.) working and being called for jobs in it and paying the money back so that I can save some next year

I'm not even sure what else I want to say at the moment - it's a bit stressful being a singular adult person sometimes - I wish I was twins.

Yogurt Cake or Yogurt Bread

I made yogurt bread the other day - sort of cake, but tasted like bread

It doubled at least twice it's volume in the oven!

350 degrees, 40 minutes

regular plain not-Greek yogurt

2 large eggs, stirred well into the yogurt

added salt, a few dollops of light cooking-style olive oil and a large swirling of honey, and a few tablespoons full of brown sugar add a lot more brown sugar maybe if you want it 'sweet'.. but it will change the chemistry that happened here

mixed it all up again, it was so smooth with the yogurt compared to making this with butter and milk

added regular white flour, and into the flour well put baking powder AND baking soda all smashed up fine, and then mixed it all up together again, adding flour until it was the consistency I wanted

poured into the baking dish, hesitant because it might expand too much!

let it sit for 10 minutes while the oven preheated

put it in and watched it - it didn't overflow

When it got nice and brown, I took it out

The top texture was a bit like a cheese souffle, slightly rubbery but in a good way, only slightly 'burnt brown butter' tasting

It was great with some maple syrup and apple jelly, and I've eaten it the past few days from the refrigerator container with a mixture of rice and other leftovers.

nicely browned, maybe too brown? anyway, still good

a kanji book test I took on the computer - this is something like 107 kanji including the other few I've obviously added on.  The pink ones were the ones I didn't have answers for or were wrong the first guess.  It's getting better.  I know a few more beyond these as well and will be working to make another list of what I do know to test from.