Tuesday, January 25, 2011

amsterdam: no. 13

I just thought this little addition to the menu was super-cute! And rather close to true as well... though we weren't quite so sad as the little person on the left.

I'm plugging away at some pretty hefty readings, and it's time to get back to it. At least I have dinner to look forward to -- I'm planning on trying a new recipe for Cream of Mushroom Soup, and will be stopping to pick up some fresh bread, salad, and wine on my way home. But first I must get through this book I'm reading...

iTunes: La Traviata, by Verdi

Saturday, January 22, 2011

amsterdam: no. 12

Because of some unexpected travel issues, we didn't get to do much in Amsterdam or Haarlem. Seeing signs was basically the extent of our sightseeing while we were there. The next time I go to Amsterdam, I would like to actually see some of the things this sign points to -- especially the Corrie ten Boom Huis (Corrie ten Boom's House). I have always had a fascination with World War II and Holocaust history, and I remember reading books like the Diary of Anne Frank and Number the Stars as a kid. One of my favorite museums in North America is the Holocaust Museum in DC.

I am determined that today will be a day of productivity. I had a very virtuous start to the day and got downtown to my favorite coffee shop by 7:30, only to find that it didn't open until 8:00. So I stood outside in the cold for half an hour, wishing that I'd let myself be less ambitious about getting up so early. Next time, I'll remember not to try so hard on a Saturday morning.

iTunes: Piano Sonata, Op. 106 (Hammerklavier), by Beethoven

Friday, January 21, 2011

amsterdam: no. 11

Meetings today. Short post. But more Amsterdam. Looks much nicer than here. We got more snow last night. And I am again reminded that my snow boots are not waterproof. Also discovered that they are literally falling apart. Perhaps it's time for new boots?

iTunes: Der Glorreiche Augenblick, by Beethoven

Thursday, January 20, 2011

amsterdam: no. 10

Amsterdam returns. As does more snow and ice tonight. And I just discovered that my driveway is already a solid sheet of ice.

Can you say massive wipe-out?

Anyway, this is a view from the porch area of Carla's Café. I like the juxtaposition of old buildings with "new" technology (tram power lines). And the morning light.

iTunes: Violin Partita, BWV 1006 by Johann Sebastian Bach

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

uovo al piatto con pomodoro

Taking a momentary break from Amsterdam... but not to worry, I shall return tomorrow. (Or rather it will return to me. I will spend tomorrow trying to brave the newly-frozen "lakes" that are now covering the city after a day of freezing rain.)

Besides international travel, the other thing that I have not been able to keep my camera away for is cooking. I adore cooking. I adore food. I adore taking pictures of food I've cooked. So I may occasionally intersperse some mouth-watering shots. And recipes?

Why not.

Who says a (lapsing) photography blog can't also include photos of food, and directions for how to make said food?

So, I introduce you to:

Uovo al piatto con pomodori

Serving Size: 3


4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, small, finely chopped
1 lb tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
2 tbsp basil, chopped
6 eggs


1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Heat oil in shallow, ovenproof dish. Add onion, cook to golden. Add tomatoes, cook 5-10 minutes or until very soft. Stir in basil.

3. Break eggs one at a time into layer on top of tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Dot with butter if desired. Sprinkle with cheese.

5. Bake 7-10 minutes or until whites are set and yolks are still soft. (Cheese will not be browned.)

6. Garnish with basil.

Works great in individual ramekins, but adjust amount as necessary.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

amsterdam: no. 9

Our delicious breakfast smoothies at Carla's. I believe I had banana and Kelley had a berry smoothie. (Blueberry, perhaps?) Sadly, I think my breakfast today will not be quite as good. Maybe I'll take it as a challenge and try to make something delicious, since it is Saturday...

iTunes: Sleeping Beauty, by Tchaikovsky

Friday, January 14, 2011

amsterdam: no. 8

"Peace, Love, & Food." All sound good to me! Carla's was our favorite find in Amsterdam, and I loved the decor. For me, coffee shops can either be hit or miss with their decorations. They can try too hard to be funky and end up just being awkward, or they can be too feminine for my taste. Carla's was a mix of fun and classy. Just right.

I've supposedly made it through the first week of classes. Two of the three have yet to meet, and because of MLK Day on Monday, the one that I've had twice this week won't meet at all next week. It won't be until week three of classes that I'll have a normal week. Yet I'm pretty tired all the same. Got home at 6:30 after dinner at a local Thai favorite with some friends from the department, got right into my pajamas, made a couple of single-serving brownies in my new ramekins, and sat down to knit a hat and listen to Harry Potter. Now that I've finished listening to the last book, I'm starting over from the beginning. Lately I've been more in the mood to listen to books on tape than to watch anything. I think it has to do with not wanting to look at my computer screen.

And I shall leave you for the evening with the quote I just heard:

"Ah, music. A magic beyond all we do here." --Dumbledore

iTunes: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling (Or Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, if you're from the UK)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

amsterdam: no. 7

This was the bar area of the cute little shop where we had breakfast on our morning in Amsterdam. Carla's. Delicious smoothies, photos to follow. Warning: you will want one after viewing the photos.

Yesterday we had a "snowpocalypse." We had about 20 inches of snow, the biggest snowstorm apparently since 1978. Yale is no exception to the general rule about Ivy League Universities considering a university-wide weather-related cancellation to be an affront to the halls of learning everywhere and a horrible blemish on their personal record. So, despite being unable to run the buses and closing most of the libraries, classes continued.

In order to make it to my morning class on time, I had to leave at 8:00 -- I estimated that walking in during the blizzard would probably take longer than my usual 45-minutes. Surely, if my morning class was canceled, my afternoon class would not be. Wrong again. I finally get to campus to find out that BOTH classes were canceled, with the emails sent while I was trudging through the blizzard. Had I left late enough to get the emails, I would have been late for class (the class that didn't meet anyway). Fail.

Unfortunately, because I had to lug in all my class things and was worried about the snow messing with my camera, I didn't take any pictures yesterday. Perhaps if I'm not too lazy, I'll snag some today.

So, I had a very productive morning, being one of very few people in the library during the few hours in which it was open, then did some reading in the afternoon. Thankfully, despite Connecticut's seeming inability to salt their roads (oh, is just plowing not enough in a blizzard?), we found a pizza place that was open and had some delicious mashed potato pizza with artichoke hearts. Yes, mashed potatoes and pizza. Carb overload, and a New England thing, but delicious. Don't judge until you try it.

Today, since I have no reason to go downtown, I'm staying in to study. Hot chocolate may be in order.

iTunes: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling (yes, yes, I know... Harry Potter at 10:00 a.m. when I haven't started working yet...)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

amsterdam: no. 6

I like the "architectural longevity" of European cities. With the exception of some of the advertising, this looks much like I imagine it would have several decades ago. I love that about Europe -- in the US, it seems that something is barely a decade old before it is deemed "out-dated," and it's pulled down and replaced. And everything is built to last about that long anyway. As they say, in America, 100 years is a long time, and in Europe, 100 miles is a long distance.

iTunes: Don Carlo, by Verdi

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

amsterdam: no. 5

I like when cities have water and boats. And I like how open certain cities feel -- when the buildings are spaced out a bit and aren't too tall, and you can look up and see the wide-open sky. So I think I would quite like Amsterdam if I could spend more than 4 hours there. My first impressions weren't the greatest -- torrential downpours and jet lag didn't help -- but the next morning made up for it.

Courses have now started up for the semester, and today is full of meetings to discuss my choice of topics for comprehensive exams. A lot of people talk about how the process of taking qualifying exams is a horrible experience, but I am determined to look on the bright side. I think the studying process will play to my strengths, and as long as I work steadily and prepare well, I hope that the whole process could be a good, constructive experience. I've had a lot of fun brainstorming ideas for topics, and I'm curious to see which ones I end up doing. I have a meeting this afternoon about it and then a group meeting tomorrow morning, so I'm starting to narrow in on specific ideas.

iTunes: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling

Monday, January 10, 2011

amsterdam: no. 4

When we arrived back in downtown Amsterdam the morning after arriving in Europe, the weather couldn't have been better. Or more different from the evening before, which had involved buckets of rain. The bright blue sky just seemed cheerful, and we walked around for a bit to take pictures and see what the city looked like in the light of day and without lots of rain.

Pretty nice, huh?

And now... off to start the first day back. Wasting no time diving right back into classes!

iTunes: Va tacito e nascost, by Handel

Saturday, January 8, 2011

amsterdam: no. 3

This is a shot of the Haarlem train station. After the morning walk, this is where we picked up the train to head into downtown Amsterdam for the morning. What I like about this shot is seeing the textures and lines of the iron work in the old station. I also like the silhouette of the older gentleman standing about halfway down the track. We spent quite a lot of time in train stations during the trip because we had Eurail passes and used them to get from city to city. It was convenient for all the places we wanted to travel, though the next time I go back to Europe, I probably won't try to fit so many different cities into one trip.

iTunes: Circus Band, by Charles Ives

Friday, January 7, 2011

amsterdam: no. 2

This shot was another one that I snagged on my morning walk along the canal. I loved seeing the reflection of the houses in the water, and I love how the black-and-white brings out the various textures in this image.

People have sometimes asked me which I prefer, color images or black-and-white images. It's hard to say, and impossible to really decide. But I must say that I love the classic crispness of a good black-and-white shot.

Often, when I'm out shooting, I know as soon as I frame the shot whether I want it in color or in black-and-white. I always shoot in color, because I like the flexibility that the color data gives me in editing a photo to be black-and-white, but sometime I frame a shot knowing that it will eventually not be in color.

iTunes: Sometimes I'm Happy, by Sarah Vaughan

Thursday, January 6, 2011

amsterdam: no. 1

It's been almost six months since the last post, and I'm long overdue for an update. Such is the life of a graduate student, though. There is no sign of the work letting up anytime in the near future, but I'll attempt to periodically share a few shots from the archives -- hopefully with more regularity than I've been posting.

To start with: here is one of my first shots from my trip to Europe last summer. The first stop was Amsterdam, but because of hiccups in our travel plans and nasty weather as soon as we arrived, I didn't pull out my camera until the day after we arrived. We took a walk around the outskirts of the city, close to where we stayed the night before, before taking the train into Amsterdam. Don't you love the early morning light here?

iTunes: Beethoven, Missa Solemnis