Posted by: miki | June 5, 2008

soupe à l’oignon

So, at last I could stop and write here a little bit! Sorry for not coming yesterday!

Today I would like to share with you that the day before yesterday I finally made Laurent’s soupe à l’oignon! And… it was superb, delicious, I loved it!

The onions did not really get carameled (or, at least, the way I thought they would caramelized =D hoho), but I fried them in abundant butter for long 50 minutes :-D! And, yes, Laurent was pretty right! This made all the diference in the world!

Unfortunatelly I didn’t have the thyme to make a bouquet garni, so I improvised with a bay leaf and parsley only, but it works perfectly!

I was very surprised by the quantity of onion on my pan hihi. They filled it till the border! But, in the end of frying process, it remains only a quarter of the inicial volume. And they are so beautifully browned! And how about the perfume?

Pat, thanks for sharing this marvelous recipe with me! Please tell Laurent I’m very grateful for his (and your, of course) kindness :-).

But the point is: from now on, no other recipe will be good enough … =).

Would you mind if I post the recipe (with the credits, of course) in my foodblog?

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Posted by: pakalil | June 4, 2008

The sound of a drum

Work, work, work. Last weekend, when I was not doing something with Laurent’s friends, I was in front of this computer putting courses together for Amsterdam. I’ve been working under tight deadlines for more than three months, managing the implementation of 25 courses in 4 languages. First, I had to meet Senegal’s kick-off deadline, then I had to turn in the new Spanish version for El Salvador’s meeting and now I must be ready for a new conference in Malawi.

For this reason, I decided to hire two people to work with me. However, managing a team is a tricky task. More so when you try to build a collaborative atmosphere, where everybody feels compelled to do what needs to be done without receiving orders. I don’t believe in orders, I don’t like them. One of my employees is brilliant and a pleasure to work with. She has initiative and is detail-oriented – it is difficult to find people like that. The other employee, on the other hand, asks for a lot of attention, does not start working without receiving a direct request and all his work must be verified.

We are all humans, in different moments of our lives, with expectations, dreams, feelings and challenges to overcome. To work under pressure has its consequences: it can stress you out and drain your ability to invent. I feel without energy today. O, I am tired, but today is the deadline for Malawi’s course. It is 8h30 in Seattle. Before starting, however, I wanted to write.

I woke up with an image of a drum, a big old drum, reverberating. This drum would resonate differently, depending on the tension applied to its drumhead. Sometimes, it would hit me with a crisp and clean beat, other times, it would touch me with a loud and deep voice. The drum of my dreams was made out of dark wood and had a warm and wholesome tone. Tum-tum-tum. To increase the amplitude of its sound, an old Indian asked me to release some tension. Tummm-tummm-tummm. And here I am, trying to play my drum, to breathe, and to go on.

Posted by: miki | May 27, 2008

haruki, would you like to come home with me?

It was seven o’clock when the telephone rang.

– Hello?

– Hello, Miki?

– Yes, this is Miki.

– Miki, I’m calling to tell you that we found Haruki a little bit lost in the bookstore! You can come tomorrow whenever you want. He will be waiting for you.

I couldn’t stop thinking that I was waiting for him and he was waiting for me. For so long time.

In the next morning, I chose a special look, a “look to meet Haruki” and went to the bookstore.

I went up the large stairs and came in the beautiful bookstore. I stared at the sliding door looking for him. After few minutes, I saw him sat at the dino’s place reading a book, obviously. The dino’s place was a magical corner where kids can play, read and leaf through books. Where else Haruki could be?

I walked slowly to him, a smile in my face. I did not feel uncomfortable neither nervous. I sat beside him.

– Hi, Haruki. I dare to think you are waiting for me.

He answered nothing but smiled.

– It could seem a little hasty, but… I came just to ask if you would like to come home with me. Sorry I can’t speak much Japanese… I live at mundomiki. In mundomiki you will meet extraordinary creatures and stories. I think… you could appreciate it! That’s why I finally decided to come.

– And… there is one more thing… The night before last… I dreamt that I was dreaming Nakata’s dream. I can’t remember what was the dream about, but I remember clearly that it was like if I was dreaming as Nakata, I mean, in his place…

Silence…

– Haruki wants to go with you.

And so we both left the bookstore walking calmly down Paulista avenue.

***

Posted by: pakalil | May 21, 2008

The Dried up Well

old well

by Meodif

And there he was, looking down into the dried up well. He dropped a coin and could hear the echoes of the metal hitting the ground. Dry, the well was completely dry. How could this be possible? The night before the source was overflowing with ground water. If he had known that it was his last chance he would have dived headfirst.

Emmet was at a loss. He laid his hands back, rested his feet against the well and faced the stars, hopeless. He discovered that hidden place by accident, on one of his night excursions, around five years ago. Emmet was a writer and he always longed for space, some quietness to give his subconscious freedom to work. He would stroll aimlessly throughout the night, unhurried, and return home at the crack of dawn.

One night, however, he did not return. He woke up by a brick wall with the sound of birds and the morning sun shining directly in his eyes. He did not recognize the place. Nonetheless, he felt at ease and in control. There was a well and a golden bucket tied with a rope. Emmet guessed that it was hanging there to draw water and without hesitation he dropped the bucket and raised it back. It came up filled with clean, tasteless, odorless and cold water. Emmet was thirsty and covered with sweat from the night before. He drank the mysterious water, washing his face and chest. He was puzzled, but in a positive way, and spent the entire morning there, alone, lost in thoughts; there was a sense of self-discovery after all. He headed back home paying careful attention to the path, so he could return.

As far as he could learn, that old source of water had no owner and no past. He was the only one who visited the secluded spot. It became his private temple, a place where he could sit down and let his writing and imagination consume him.

Everything seemed perfectly fine until he started to fear the water. Why did he never see any trace of a human being around that pathway? Was he cheating himself? Did he need to look for other sources or he could rely completely on that one? One by one, all these uncertainties started to transform Emmet. He was blank, washed-out and couldn’t write anything.

And there he was, looking down into the well in disbelief and despair. It was dry. If he knew that it could happen, he would have embraced his gift and that inexplicable water. Now, he had to rediscover his power, strength and drive.


Inspired by your post about writing, May 14th. This story is about the magical sources of creativity and the challenges of diving deep into ones subconscious. Thank you, Miki!

I was thinking about your question: if being an only daughter had a connection with start creating dolls… I realized that the answer for this question was not simply “yes” or “no”. So I decided to write about it as my weekly activity today.

I was a very shy little girl and did not have much friends nor in my childhood neither when I was a teenager. Despite of it, I don’t think I was bored or felt alone. I guess I always like to entertain myself. I’ve never looked at it by this angle, but I’m almost sure that I did not have any problem in playing alone. I mean, if there wasn’t other choice, I simply found a way to play alone. And it would be funny.

Since I was a little girl, I’d like to construct things using my hands. I can remember the “dolls” and “robots” that I’ve made once using some refused vegetables I’ve picked at the fair (it would be better if I say “creatures” hohoho). Or a plenty of miniatures I’d love constructing: mini-notebooks, mini-briefcases, mini-pencils with their case and much more objects! A crazy girl, huh?

Once I’ve asked for my mother buying me a book that taught children to construct their own toys. I found it in a catalog from “Ediouro’s Publishers”. I made so many toys using this precious book! Eventually, I still have this book with me. I’m very happy because it holds an important place in my life and, nowadays, also in my little library!

So the answer is: yes, being an only daughter had a certain connection with my character-dolls’ project. Well, at least a piece of it =)! What I mean is: this project has many connections with the entire story of my life (but this is a post for another day =).

I think that being an only daughter maybe have determined in the past certain characteristics and behaviours that made me being the way I am. And those characteristics and behaviours have guided me follow this or that path. And certain aspects in this or that path which were pretty important to me have been carried to my project.

Posted by: miki | May 14, 2008

An Spiegel interview with Murakami

I chose an Spiegel interview with the japanese writer Haruki Murakami for our first activity.

But, before we begin, I’d like to tell you a little history =)!

I made a really good friend through my foodblog “Cabeça-Gorda“: she is Karen. Karen is the person who made me start blogging!

Besides our mutual interest about cooking, we also loved Murakami’s book. By the way, her blog’s name is “Kafka na Praia“, a free translation for “Kafka on the shore”. This was before the book was released here in Brazil.

To be honest, I’ve read only two books from Murakami (both in Portuguese): “Sputinik sweetheart” and “A wild sheep chase”. The first book I read was “Sputinik sweetheart” and I was completely amazed about it. Then, I bought “A wild sheep chase” but… I didn’t like it very much.

On the other hand, my friend Karen is almost a Murakami’s fanatic (hihi)! She has read all of his books available in English or Portuguese! I’ve invited her to write with me in my blog about books, but the more correct would be saying that is her blog, not ours =)! If you go there, you’ll find a lot of posts about Murakami =).

Nowadays I’m reading “Kafka on the shore” and I am completely crazy fo the book! I wish I could stop the time, the world, everything just to read it till the last sheet!

The article I’ve read for our first activity was posted by Karen (right, when she posted I’ve read it in Portuguese, but now I read the full article in English hehehe).

I love reading about the creative process of another artists. Sometimes you think that only you has a certain issue to solve, but when you can hear from your partners, you realize that they had the same issues to think about!

I liked this part:

“Sometimes I find it too hot to run, and sometimes too cold. Or too cloudy. But I still go running. I know that if I didn’t go running, I wouldn’t go the next day either. It’s not in human nature to take unnecessary burdens upon oneself, so one’s body soon becomes disaccustomed. It mustn’t do that. It’s the same with writing. I write every day so that my mind doesn’t become disaccustomed. So that I can gradually set the literary yardstick higher and higher, just as running regularly makes your muscles stronger and stronger.”

I liked it because it showed me that the auto-imposition of semanal writings I had impose to myself can be considered an exercise to accustom my mind and my body. Sometimes I feel a little bit silly or masochist when I thought about forcing a situation to be fulfilled by myself :-s!

In another part, he says:

“SPIEGEL: You grew up as an only child; writing is a lonely business, and you always run alone. Is there some connection between these things?

Murakami: Definitely. I am used to being alone. And I enjoy being alone. Unlike my wife, I don’t like company. I have been married for 37 years, and often it is a battle. In my previous job I often worked until dawn, now I’m in bed by nine or ten.”

I am an only child too and all of my businesses are lonely businesses also. But, Lord, I miss people so much! The solitude makes me so unhappy! I wish I could enjoy being alone like him =)!

And finally, I was very happy to know about his unusual process of creation! I could never imagine!

“Murakami: When a writer develops a story, he is confronted with a poison that is inside him. If you don’t have that poison, your story will be boring and uninspired. It’s like fugu: The flesh of the pufferfish is extremely tasty, but the roe, the liver, the heart can be lethally toxic. My stories are located in a dark, dangerous part of my consciousness, I feel the poison in my mind, but I can fend off a high dose of it because I have a strong body. When you are young, you are strong; so you can usually conquer the poison even without being in training. But beyond the age of 40 your strength wanes, you can no longer cope with the poison if you lead an unhealthy life.”

While a lot of people talk about sources of inspiration, Murakami has a very different and extraordinary way to create his stories! Wow!

Posted by: pakalil | May 6, 2008

The word of the day is…

I read in the paper today: “[A British Bakery] has used a legal loophole to beat French boulangers and supply the narrow loaves to the whole of the French railway system.”

loop·hole /ˈlupˌhoʊl/ noun
1. a small or narrow opening, as in a wall, for looking through, for admitting light and air, or, particularly in a fortification, for the discharge of missiles against an enemy outside.
2. an opening or aperture.
3. a means of escape or evasion; a means or opportunity of evading a rule, law, etc. — from Dictionary.com

I have never used this word in this context before! It means BRECHA, in the example, BRECHA LEGAL. Cool, huh? If you would like to try, please, make a comment using this word!! 😉

Posted by: pakalil | April 18, 2008

Prompt 1

“Research a few inventions. Write about the circumstances of the inventions: How were they discovered or made? What obstacles did the inventors overcome? If you want, write an essay about an inventor or invention” The Writer’s Idea Book

This is an optional activity. If you would like to give it try, you may create a new post to present your discoveries!! Have fun 🙂

Posted by: pakalil | April 18, 2008

The word of the Day is…

salubrious \suh-LOO-bree-us\, adjective:
Favorable to health; promoting health; healthful. – from Doctor Dictionary

This is an optional activity. Give it a try! Make a comment using this word!!

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