Happy Ponchiki Day! :)

(Or otherwise known as Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, or, using the Polish word, Paczki day)

I use the word “ponchiki” because this the Ukrainian word for the infamous delicious jelly doughnuts, and thus the word I’ve used all my life (I’m Ukrainian).

Fat Tuesday is the day before Lent, and thus the last day of “feasting” before the Lenten season starts. During Lent (if you are an observer) you’re supposed to abstain from certain luxuries and certain foods, thus Fat Tuesday is a day of celebration and a good excuse to stuff your face with all sorts of fatty and sweet foods. πŸ˜€

Now as an atheist I don’t observe Lent anymore, but I sure as hell observe Fat Tuesday :D. Ponchiki are just too delicious. They come in so many flavors too! Blackberry, apricot, blueberry, lemon, custard, raspberry, etc. Aside from the heavenly jelly fillings, the doughnuts themselves are yellow-colored from all the egg yolks used to make the dough, so they are very filling. They are dusted with powdered sugar for a bit of extra sweetness, which makes them look like lovely snow-covered golden hills.

Pictured above are two halves of ponchiki that I had with my tea this afternoon, one custard and the other blackberry. πŸ™‚ They were both simply scrumptious, and I highly recommend getting some if you live in an area where they are sold! (Ponchiki protip: the best ones are sold in Polish/Ukrainian/Russian stores πŸ™‚ ).

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Staring contest with a deer

This deer matches its home so well you can barely see it. πŸ™‚

I was walking through a nature reserve today when I came across this little deer and her little friend (not pictured). This deer and I stared at each other for several long minutes as I tried not to breath, my feet rooted to the ground. It seemed both confused and curious – whenever I would stand still it would go back to chewing something on the ground as if it had decided I was some sort of non-threatening large plant, but whenever I made any sort of slight movement its head would dart back up to stare at me.

Its little friend had actually walked up to within 5 feet of me which was wonderful and a bit alarming as I briefly pictured it nipping at my fingers. However, when I made a slight movement to get my camera out, this startled the little deer and it walked behind the trees. When it peeked out at me later, somehow it seemed too intimate of a moment to photograph – the deer felt to me like another intelligent being, more like a person than animal, and so I put my camera away.

It was a wonderful, magical little walk. πŸ™‚

via Photo Challenge: A Good Match

Finding my center

Finding my center of balance
I wiggle
wobble
and fall
face down onto the floor
Face pancake
Face red, face stinging, face making mountains of wrinkles,
Face broken into tears.

“It’s okay. It’s okay to fall. You don’t have to be perfect,
Try again.” My yoga teacher says,
her soothing voice sashaying
through my center,
finding my center.

I stand,
Tree position,
left foot against my right thigh,
palms together at my heart,
feeling my center.

My center is rooted,
steady,
and stretches like branches
through my head and legs.

via Daily Prompt: Center

Unnatural warmth

Today for about the fifth or so day in a row it’s been terribly warm where I live. Around this time of year it’s usually freezing cold, snowy, with the temperatures plunging below zero every now and then. But as I write this it is 61 degrees outside.

Which, definitely, means it is a lot more pleasant outside than usual – it is sunny, the air smells wonderful, and moss has covered the ground in a luscious green carpet. It feels like spring. And if it was spring, I’d love it. But it’s winter.

I feel like I’ve been cheated. Observing the transition from winter to spring every year is one of my favorite things to do. Noticing how the snow turns into puddles, watching for the first hints of green in a grey and white landscape, cherishing the first days when the icy cold releases its rigid hold on my bones and the new warmth melts my body into graceful fluidity as I walk outside – these are all things that make spring feel so special, so beautiful. Right now I feel like someone who has accidentally stumbled upon a huge spoiler before getting a chance to read the book.Β 

This good weather feels unnatural and unearned. The warm and colorful pleasures of spring usually come after a bitterly cold and grey winter and that is when they feel the most precious, the most uplifting. This warm weather feels like a cheap handout. A participation award instead of an award won for merit. Getting free food when you are already full. It is bland, like the strawberries sold in the store that have been picked before they are ripe and are thus still white on the inside, tinged with sour immaturity. In comparison, spring that has been given time to blossom is like a home-grown strawberry that blushes bright red inside and out and bursts in your mouth with juicy sweetness. Β Biting into this fragrant, ambrosial fruit you feel it was well worth the wait and the effort it took to grow it, that hardships endured only make it taste all the more sweet.

This unnatural warmth is pleasant on the surface, but on the inside it is rotten. As much as I usually despise cold weather, I long to feel freezing winds and snowflakes on my cheeks again. I want to fully struggle through a frigid winter before I am gifted with a luscious spring.

The Sounds I Crave

Music is everything to me. It fills me with energy, vigor, happiness, catharsis, peace, and awe. There are so many songs that have enchanted me through the years, that I find myself obsessively playing over and over and over and over again until I have each sound imprinted into my mind. Each time I find a song that captivates me like this I become really excited and want to share it with others. Thus, this post. These ten songs are a part of my many favorite songs whose melodies and words I have listened to countless times.

1. Algiers – Blood

Anything that I could write about this song wouldn’t be able to do it justice. I’ve listened to it so many times, and every single time I get goosebumps and feel overwhelmed with emotion at the climax of the song.

2. Enej – Zbudujemy Dom

This is a Polish song that I really love; the melody is gorgeous with emotion and the central message, of peace and unity among all people, is creatively and very genuinely delivered in this song.

3. M.O.V.E. – Over Drive (High Power Remix)

This is a really fun song, a perfect example of the happy hardcore genre. The artists are Japanese and as I do not speak the language I have no idea what they are saying in the song, but that doesn’t matter to me – I just love how upbeat and happy it is, it always energizes me.

4. Rusko – Jahova

This is the first dubstep song I ever listened to, about 7 years ago. This was when dubstep was just starting to come up in America (it was born in England) and the majority of the big artists, including Rusko, were British. Whereas now most dubstep songs have “drops”, early dubstep like this song didn’t have them, or they weren’t that common in songs. That is a part of why I love this song – it manages to be creative and compelling without a drop, and the melody itself is something special. I get a very nostalgic and almost transcendent feeling when I listen to this song.

5. Jakubi – Can’t Afford It All (Kygo Remix)

Kygo is a famous electronic artist and has a lot of great songs, however, even after all of his music that I’ve listened to over the years, this is still my favorite song. The melody is luscious and effortlessly happy – it makes me feel very content and peaceful.

6. Akala -Malcolm Said It

Akala is a political and socially conscious rapper from England, and this is one of my favorite songs of his because not only is it very good musically, but the message in the song is delivered in a very strong and powerful way.

7. Eyedea – Even Shadows Have Shadows

Eyedea was an amazing poet and rap artist (he died in 2010) who released so many songs that are thought-provoking, philosophical, but also grounded in his own life. I love this song because not only is the background music really beautiful, but also the lyrics resonate powerfully with me. Whenever I sink into a deep depression I listen to this song because it helps me feel less alone, because a lot of what he describes about his mental state is what I feel during those times.

8. Studio Killers – Jenny

I really love this song and the artistic style of the music video. It has a beat and melody that you just want to keep listening to, and the story in it, about a girl in love with her best friend is wonderful too, especially given the ending. A couple months ago, I was listening to this song on repeat for half an hour and drew a picture (included underneath the video).

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9. Nao – Haru Kaze

I accidentally stumbled across this song years ago on Youtube and am so happy I did. “Haru kaze” is “spring breeze” in Japanese and that’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a beautiful, warm song that blossoms like a gorgeous flower in the refrain. The piano in this song beautifully flows and intertwines with the other instruments to create an exquisite bouquet of sound.

10. FKA Twigs – Two Weeks

FKA Twigs is one of my favorite artists right now because she has such a unique sound. She’s an experimental artist and draws from various genres to create her music. She also has a lovely voice that is positively mellifluous in this song, while still being strong and powerful. She exudes elegance, grace, and strength.

via Daily Prompt: Sound

Shadows

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So much can change in a week! The three pictures above I took yesterday, while the bottom two I took last Wednesday. The difference is like winter and spring! I love the fact that the shadows are similar though, elongated and stretching outwards. πŸ™‚ All of the pictures were taken in the park behind my house where I like to go on walks. My own shadow is in two of the pictures – you can see that I’m wearing a very long coat.

Almost all the snow and ice that covered the ground last week has melted, but the days have continued to be sunny and so the shadows have stayed. πŸ™‚

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via Photo Challenge: Shadow

Valentine’s Expectations

The picture at the top is the Cake of Love (my name for it lol) that my boyfriend and I made this weekend.

The picture here is what it was supposed to look like:

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Clearly, there is a bit of a difference. πŸ˜‰

We originally bought the cake mix a year ago as a matter of fact, but kept forgetting to actually make the cake. For an entire year somehow. Then, this past weekend, when my boyfriend drove down to see me for our own Valentine’s weekend, he brought the cake with him, determined to finally make it. Which turned out to be perfect as it was about to expire.

The cake took more effort than was expected since we couldn’t find the two attachable beaters for the electric mixer, and thus had to use a whisk. Both the cake mix and the glaze had to be whisked up separately, so we got quite an arm workout.

At last came the moment where I poured the glaze over the cake, which cooled much faster than I expected. Cooling made the the glaze more goopy than liquid, and the last bit of it formed funny deformed lumps on the cake. Although our cake doesn’t look like the perfect cake on the box, it is a cake that my boyfriend and I had made together and so to me it is splendid. πŸ™‚

Sometimes things don’t turn out how you expected, but they can still be yummy. πŸ™‚

 

via Daily Prompt: Expectation