I do love the doughnuts and the pretty candles ;)
Gezellig: “A perfect example of untranslatability is seen in the Dutch language through the word gezellig, which does not have an English equivalent. Literally, it means cozy, quaint, or nice, but can also connote time spent with loved ones, seeing a friend after a long absence, or general togetherness.” - Wikipedia
I learned the word Gezellig some years ago while I was living in Holland. Actually, Littetree was conceived in Holland; Purple and I were living on a yacht in Amsterdam, preparing to sail to Brazil when Littetree came into existence.
I don't celebrate Christmas; I'm not a Christian, nor do I go in for mass consumerism gifting and such. In any case, I don't have any relatives with whom to celebrate. To exacerbate matters, Littletree asked if she could have a sleepover at a friend’s house, and be, being quite ignorant of the date, said “sure”. Only after it was too late did I realise it was Christmas Eve.
So I woke up Christmas morning feeling a little flat, like any other day. Purple came in to my room for a morning lie-in and we decided to invite my ladyfriend over for brunch.
Pancakes with alcohol-soaked cherries (a fortunate by-product of our amazing homemade organic cherry liqueur), drizzled in maple syrup, coffee, and two of the people I love most in the world. Tipsy laughs, listening to good music and then lying down to watch The Beatles movie Help!
We didn’t have a tree, we didn’t have any decorations or presents, just love and presence.
So very Gezellig and entirely the best Christmas Ever.
And of course, Littletree came home in the afternoon, friend in tow, for another sleepover.
Guess what today is?
That’s right! I’m making sufganiot – jam-filled doughnuts. Which means it’s Channukah!
Home-made organic doughnuts from scratch:
Step 1: create a universe in which the following ingredients are available: Wheat flour, yeast, salt, sugar, cinnamon, milk, water, jam, oil.
Step 2: make up a basic yeast dough with a little milk and sugar, lets say, 4 cups flour, 2/3 cup sugar, a packet instant yeast, pinch salt, teaspoon cinnamon. mix it up and slowly pour in about a cup of warm milk and water (half-half). Keep adding in the milky water till you have a dough you can knead. Might need a tad more than a cup.
Step 3: knead the dough. (Baker’s secret: Make sure you taste some. Eating dough is vital to the process). Then cover it in a bowl and leave to rise for an hour or two (longer for colder temperatures).
Step 4: tear off and roll up small balls of the dough, flatten them into rounds, make a depression in the middle (almost as if you’re starting to make a bowl). Plop in a spoonful of jam – careful to get jam only in the centre of the dough bowl – and top it with another round of dough. Press the edges together carefully to make a nice seal (so jam wont leak out when cooking), roll the whole thing a little into a nice shape, and leave to rise more. Repeat till you run out of dough.
Step 5: Heat oil in a pot and deep fry the doughnuts till golden outside and cooked all the way through. Baker’s tip: don’t have a tantrum and throw boiling oil all over yourself.
Option: instead of a dollop of jam, put a square of chocolate in the middle.
Littletree came and said she wants to get an electric keyboard for Christmas, and to learn to play piano. I said an electric keyboard might be a bit out of our budget at the moment, but we can save up for it.
She shrugged at that, and flounced off… An hour later, I found her set up in the living room, having made herself an electric keyboard, practising her piano skills.
Apparently it’s got all the best features and she’s been playing some awesome music on it already! ;)
I was just putting Littletree to bed and giving her a snuggle, and she said "Mama, can we talk about Stereotypes?"
"Okay", I said.
"Well, I think it's really mean that so many people make stereotypes. Like they say that Giants are mean and nasty. But Giants are people just like everyone else, except that they're really big. Like, really, really big. But they're nice, and kind. It's so insulting to stereotype them! I just don't understand why people keep making mean stereotypes about all different kinds of people."
When I thought about it, I realised that to a child, everyone is a giant. It's all about perspective.
For those who have been living under a rock, there was a total lunar eclipse yesterday, visible from Australia, most of Asia, Europe, Africa and North America.
Littletree, being obsessed with astronomy, was very keen to see it, but she barely managed to wake up for the 1am totality!
It had been raining all day, and I’d given up hope of getting to see anything, but right when the first shadow was falling over the moon, it cleared up and we had great viewing!
So we set the telescope up
Waited patiently, watching as the Earth’s shadow slowly covered the full moon.
Definitely worthwhile having the telescope as well! Though technically one is not supposed to be able to take photos through a telescope, and clearly these ones didn’t come out so well, you get the idea:
And I’m reminded of 2006 when we went to Turkey to see a total eclipse of the sun at a Rainbow Gathering.
Littletree was terrified of the sun disappearing! She cried through the whole first part, hid in my lap and refused to look at it until the totality was over. And then she was happy again!
Time for another flashback post :) I was reminded lately of the time I spent in Africa – I travelled and lived for a year and a half in Africa, including a Cape-to-Cairo journey. Looking through some old photos I have scanned in, I came across this gorgeous set that were taken at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, regarded as one of the top three waterfalls in the world.
In 2001 I attended a World Rainbow Gathering in Zimbabwe, which was incredibly amazing. After the gathering, a small group of my friends and I decided that we should go see the sunrise at Victoria Falls on full moon night
The only catch with this plan was that one has to pay to get in to the Victoria Falls Park and go with a guided tour. So we thought better to sneak in and go about by ourselves.
So we waited till it was late night and we embarked into the bush some distance from the official entry gate and climbed over the fence. What fun to be sneaking around in the African wilderness! At night!
At some point, one of my friends came around some trees to find himself face-to-face with an elephant. Another friend got caught by security, and managed to run off and get out, though totally scratched up from running wildly through the jungle and finally jumping a barbed wire fence.
Those of us who stayed for the sunrise were treated to spectacular circular night-time rainbows around the full moon, and then the stunning views of the sunrise, while the full moon was setting and rainbows in the mist of the falls.
It was a truly amazing moment, I will remember always.
These three photos were taken all at the same time, at sunrise on the full moon, July 2001. The first view is looking east, to the sunrise, the second is looking north directly at the falls, with me posing and the third is facing west, to the full moon setting behind a rainbow. All taken with a Kodak disposable camera.
Littletree came up to me the other night and asked me to stand up. She held my hand, looked me up and down, and then walked off. Minutes later she went up to Purple and did the same thing.
Turned out she was trying to make a picture of the three of us using alphabet fridge magnets; she wanted to get the relative heights, arm lengths and arm angles as accurate as she could.
Yep, we really look like this:
A good friend pointed out to me that Littletree is lucky to have sets of magnetic letters in two alphabets – she wouldn’t have been able to make this (at least, not so easily) if she had only the Latin letters, or only the Hebrew set.
And there I was thinking the benefits in raising a multi-lingual child would be in communication, linguistic ability and neurological function – I never would have guessed it would open up her artistic possibilities as well!
It has been brought to my attention that on slow internet connections, the white background on this blog loads slowly (weird), just leaving the green text on the green leaf wallpaper, which is unreadable.
It’s good to get this kind of feedback – my computer runs pretty fast and I’m usually at home with my top-speed wifi, so I’m largely unaware of this kind of thing.
And I felt like a bit of a change. But at the same time, I was also feeling a little lazy, so I just took the leafy wallpaper out and left it all white.
Believe it or not, sometimes there can be such a thing as too much green! Shocking, I know.
So, what do you all think?
This is how it was:
And this is how it is now (I’ll post a picture for posterity lest I change it and then this post looks random)
I could possibly make it all new and I’m open to suggestions.
Everyone please let me know what you think in the comments! Do you like the new, fresh look? Miss the greeny-green? Have a better idea?
Littletree decided to make a Gingerbread House with her friend.
Was loads of fun, and a lot easier than I’d anticipated. And now we have loads of gingerbread to eat!