Homemade Hot Sauce

smoked peppers

While I might unintentionally fling flour all over the kitchen from time to time — I’ve gotten better; I’m not nearly as messy a baker as I once was. It’s amazing what practice can do! — I’m not the only one in our household that is guilty of making a mess in the kitchen. My husband is a great cook and a willing one, lucky for me. He does most of the cooking in our house while I do the baking. Late last winter or so, he planted a bunch of different hot pepper seeds. Eventually he transferred them into a raised garden bed in our yard that quickly grew over. The plan all along was to grow the peppers to make salsa and hot sauce. He made his final batch of hot sauce over this past weekend and now he’s using it on nearly everything he eats. I might cover the kitchen in flour but he covers it in pepper seeds and an eye-watering pepper smell. Oh well, it cleans up easily!
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Golden Gate Park’s Monumental Monuments

Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk

I feel like taking photographs of monuments, busts and sculptures in parks has become my thing. They seem like such underrated works of art that we all take for granted. During our recent trip to the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, I loved turning every corner and not knowing what would be next. Often, it was a statue. Who would it memorialize? So often it seemed somewhat random. English great Shakespeare holds court in the sunny park with German greats Goethe and Schiller. The three rubbed bronzed elbows with United States presidents, Beethoven (although as a bust he was elbow-less), Francis “oh say can you see” Scott Key and Czech philosopher and politician Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, who is also lacking in the below-the-chin area. And these are merely the statues that we stumbled upon. It’s simply lovely!
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A Visit to San Francisco’s Japanese Tea Garden

pagoda at the japanese tea garden

Originally, we were not going to venture too far from the Fisherman’s Wharf area during our recent whirlwind trip to San Francisco. Then I discovered the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park and my friend recommended Uber. It seemed too good to pass up. Needless to say, we made a special trip to the park to visit the garden. Not only do I not regret making the special trip but it might have been one of my favorite things we did during our visit.
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A Trip to Alcatraz to See Ai Wei Wei

alcatraz island

It wasn’t that long ago I was wishing I could attend the exhibit by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in Berlin. Then it was announced that the famed (or infamous) dissident would be showcasing a new collection — @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz — at the famed (or infamous) Alcatraz Prison. To be honest, I really didn’t have all that much interest in Alcatraz, especially given that we were only in town for 48 hours. But that changed once I found out about the exhibit. And it changed again once I arrived on the island prison known as “The Rock.”
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Germany’s 25 Years Since the Berlin Wall

approaching the east side gallery

Recently, every time I watch German television online or read a digital newspaper, I keep seeing specials about the past 25 years popping up. In one week from today, on November 9, 2014, it will be 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. In October of 2015 it will be 25 years since the official reunification of Germany. For millions of people, everyday life has changed in ways that many of us could never understand and probably never will.

Likewise, it has made me reflect on my own trip to Berlin in 2009. While there, I stayed in former East Berlin along Friedrichstrasse. I didn’t stay there because of the East German connection. Instead, I simply stayed there because today it’s central Berlin. The area is around the corner from the Brandenburg Gate, Tiergarten and many of the city’s museums on Museuminsel. During my visit, the East Side Gallery, the longest section of the Berlin Wall, was in the process of being restored. Wherever possible, the original artists were repainting their pieces. We walked along the open air gallery, at times separated from the wall by fencing protecting the restorations in progress.

Now look at the German capital. It’s truly amazing how quickly things can change.
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