Friday, August 29, 2014

August 29th, outsourced

What your junk drawer reveals about you.

The wettest place on earth. Two words: LIVING BRIDGES. [HT Ashi]

Back to School: the 1970s vs. today.

Back to School: The Onion.

A man lived in the woods of Maine for 30 years and did not have contact with other human beings (until he was caught stealing food) and I wasn't informed (until now)??!??! [HT Liz]

Here's what happens when you Like everything you see on Facebook. [HT Andrew]

My favorite link this week: tracking state-to-state mobility in the US. I was clicking through a few states and wishing I could see where people from a certain state ended up, too, and YOU CAN (here). The influx of Californians into Oregon isn't as dramatic as I expected it to be (though I suppose there could be plenty of Californians in Oregon who weren't born in CA and therefore would not show up as such on the chart). [HT Kathy]

In defense of the Knee Defender. I'm team Knee Defender myself. I routinely do not recline my airplane seat, out of courtesy for the person behind me. It provides so little additional comfort for me, and causes great discomfort for the other person. I had never thought of it as the airlines double-selling that space, but it's kind of true, isn't it?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dusty playground

Since most of our neighborhood travels during the summer (and due to the fact that it's 120F during the day), the playground down the street gets woefully neglected during these months. Every year when we come back, it's covered in a thick layer of dust. There's no immediate hope of rain to wash it off, either, since it never rains earlier than November-ish.

It's almost like a standoff - between the playground and the neighborhood kids; between the kids themselves. Who will go down that slide first? Who will sacrifice their clothes and bare feet to the coating of dust? Who is willing to risk the wrath of whoever does their laundry?

Every year, I think that I'll have the girls put on their swimsuits, grab a few buckets and sponges, and give the playground a good scrubbing (or at least rinsing). This year, I think we may actually have done so except for Magdalena's broken arm.

In any case, we were at the playground tonight (see 120F during the day, above) (and yes, it seems so unwholesome to be playing at the playground when it's dark outside, but it is fairly normal here) and someone had already plowed a path through the dust. No need for the bucket-and-sponge treatment this year!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A highly scientific analysis of Milka chocolate varieties


I was inspired by the book Candyfreak to write brief reviews of all the Milka chocolate bar varieties that I tried in Germany. Consider this my candy magnum opus.

Milka Chips Ahoy. I don't like Chips Ahoy, so this was just meh for me. My kids liked it, though!

Milka and Oreo. This is one of my favorites! The Oreo bits are suspended in creamy filling so it's like having a bar of chocolate, a glass of milk, and a stack of Oreos, all in one. I do prefer mushy, milk-saturated Oreos, though, so the crunchy texture sometimes made me sad.

Milka Strawberry Yoghurt. Another one of my favorites, though I think I prefer Ritter Sport's rendition of the same (they put little crunchy bits in theirs). The Milka yogurt is more creamy than tangy, but deliiiiiiicious.

Milka and Daim. I prefer my Daim unencumbered by a Milka bar. This combination cheapens both of its elements.

Milka Whole Hazelnuts. This is Jeremy's favorite. It is very good, but apparently I prefer the novelty fillings rather than the classics.

Milka Cream-Crème (Sahne-Crème in German). Like a regular Milka bar, but silkier, almost like mousse. Really good.

Milka Alpine Milk Cream. This is the grown-up version of those Kinder milky chocolate bars. It's nice for those times when you feel like chocolate, but not too much, you know? Bonus: illusion of chocolate being good for you because milk.

Milka Yoghurt. Again, I prefer Ritter Sport's version because it is tangier, but there is always a place for this milder cousin.

Milka Grape Nut. I do not need fruit bits in my chocolate, GOOD DAY SIR.

Milka Caramel Cream. Another gem. Not too caramel-y, not too creamy, not too chocolatey. Just the right balance of all three. Bliss. You used to be able to buy this one in the UAE, but I haven't seen it in years.

Milka Toffee Ganznuss (whole nut - hazelnut). This is my favorite when I'm feeling sophisticated - a single hazelnut on top of toffee (caramel?) and cream, surrounded by chocolate.

Milka Choco + Cakes. This is a Milka bar with cream and a biscuit/wafer/graham cracker thing inside. It tasted like a S'more to me, especially since I ate it when it was all melty. I can see this becoming a favorite, were I allowed the honor of further acquaintance.

Milka Raspberry and Cream. I found this one in Romania - I'd never seen it in Germany. And it is vile. It tastes like raspberry jam inside of chocolate - like those awful cherry cordial chocolates that no one ever eats in the big box of See's. I think I would like it if they incorporated the raspberry into the cream, or made it a straight-up yoghurt flavor like the strawberry.

Looking through the other varieties of Milka available, I am ashamed at how many there are that I didn't try. It was a case of having the old favorite standbys, and always going back to those instead of trying new ones. I promise to give them more of a chance next time.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Doctor visits

I was going to title this post with the number of times we've gone to the doctor in the past week, but I have lost count. I do know that I have been to the hospital four of the last seven days.

Miriam had a suspicious mole removed (biopsy normal) by a surgeon, plus she saw a dermatologist for some skin issues, plus when we went for the follow-up visit today, she had full-blown Fifth Disease.

Magdalena had a new cast put on, which involved seeing an orthopedic doctor and a radiologist. She is over her Fifth Disease.

Sterling came along for some of these visits, though none of the appointments were for him. He is just starting his own case of Fifth Disease.

Our family is a walking ball of sickness and injury.

The good news is that all of these doctors are in the outpatient wing of the hospital that is seven minutes from our house. What could be separate appointments at separate buildings at separate times is thankfully just a matter of walking down the hall. I am so grateful for this.

I am also grateful for the really wonderful nurses and doctors. Everyone is so helpful and so nice about getting everything taken care of in the most efficient way possible. For example, Miriam needed to get her stitches taken out today. We already had the dermatologist follow-up appointment scheduled for this afternoon, but the surgeon's open hours were only in the morning. No problem - he just had his nurse page him in the afternoon when we were already going to be at the hospital, and he came and removed the stitches then.

And we are lucky to be getting to know all the nurses well. I showed up today with all three kids in tow. The nurses saw rash/stitches girl (Miriam), broken arm girl (Magdalena), and nascent rash boy (Sterling), and asked me, "who is the patient today?" And then they got'r done.

Let's hope WE get'r done - all of this sickness and injury - before school starts on Sunday!

Friday, August 22, 2014

August 22nd, outsourced

Inside a helicopter crash on Mt. Sinjar in Iraq.

Beautiful new Harry Potter covers!

I don't know any of the backstory, but this whale playing (I assume) with kids is mesmerizing. That third fake-out it does is perfectly timed and eerily hilarious.

I did not expect to read an entire article on the history of Trapper Keepers...but I totally did.

I don't know what circles you run in, but in mine, we've been talking about the one space/two spaces after a period debate. Here are two germane articles: link and link. (For the record, I remember using two spaces in my undergrad; ten years later during my MA, it was one space. I don't think one or the other is better or worse. I just do what the university's guidelines tell me to.)

I have always wanted to see what flight attendant chillaxation spaces look like. Luckyyyyyyy! [HT Ashi]

Dubai is up and Damascus is down: The Economist's best places to live index.

"The Guardians of the Galaxy shirt is a boy’s shirt, which is why it does not include the female character of Gamora." FLAMES. ON THE SIDE OF MY FACE.

A helpful quiz to determine whether you should be a SAHM, WAHM, or WOHM. Problem solved! NOT.

In Moscow: one of the Stalin Sisters buildings is painted in Ukrainian colors, and four McDonald's restaurants are suspiciously closed. [HT Jeremy]

Is there a secret code in Google Translate?

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