Sunday, February 24, 2008

Foxy's 6

It is hard to believe that Foxy is 6 year old!! Her b-day was really Tuesday but we celebrated on Sunday. She loves her cake, but daddy took it away before she could really dig in.

Foxy's layer cake

3 cups flour
1 T. baking powder
½ cup margarine, softened
6 eggs, beaten
½ cup corn oil
2 jars strained chicken baby food
2 cups finely shredded carrots
Plain yogurt
2 or 3 strips of bacon, fried crisp

Generously grease and flour two 8” round cake pans; set aside. Combine flour and baking powder; set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat softened margarine until smooth. Add eggs and corn oil; mix well. Add strained chicken and shredded carrots and mix until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour batter into the 2 prepared 8” cake pans. Bake at 352 for 60 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before removing from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.

Place one layer on a serving plate and spread yogurt over top. Place second layer on top, then spread yogurt on tip and sides of the entire cake. Sprinkle crumbled bacon on top.

Or if it is just for Foxy I make cupcakes and cut one cupcake in half and slice the middle of another for a three layer mini cake. I also half the receipe for cupcakes.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Berlin Part 2 - Berlinale

To Explain a little about the fest- The Berlinale – not only the city’s largest cultural event, but also one of the most important dates on the international film industry’s calendar. More than 19,000 film professionals from 120 countries, including 4,000 journalists, are accredited for the Berlin International Film Festival every year. The Berlinale is truly a mega event. At the same time, it is a festival of encounters and discussions. With more than 200,000 tickets sold, the Berlinale is not only a film industry meeting. It also enjoys by far the largest audience of any film festival in the world. For two weeks, art, glamour, parties and business meet at the Berlinale.

Berlinale Palast is where we saw “be kind rewind” with Jack Black
Screens: 1
Seating capacity: ca. 1600
Screen size: 17,6 m x 8,0 m

The Berlinale Palast on Potsdamer Platz is actually a theater for musicals. Every year, for two weeks, it is transformed into the largest and most prestigious venue of the Berlinale. The Competition films celebrate their premiere. A throng of journalists, fans and autograph hunters wait for the stars to appear on the red carpet.

Synopsis of Be Kind Rewind
Jack Black and Mos Def star in Be Kind Rewind, a unique comedy from Academy Award-winning writer/director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). Black stars as a loveable loser stuck in a life that's too small for his big dreams. But when he unintentionally erases all the tapes in a video store where his best friend (Mos Def) works, he devises a plan to satisfy the store's few loyal customers by re-creating and re-filming every movie they decide to rent. Be Kind Rewind features a cast that also includes Danny Glover, Melonie Diaz and Mia Farrow. It is scheduled for a February 22, 2008 release.

Our Review – The 75 minutes out of the 96 minutes of the movie we saw were hilarious. I was crying from laughing so hard. Please keep in mind I love Jack Black and have a strange sense of humor. The reason we didn’t get to see the whole movie is we need to catch our plane – but we could have stayed a little bit longer.

Now for the interesting stuff…I tried to get tickets for “The other Boleyn Girl” the same time I got the “be kind rewind” tickets but they didn’t go on sale at the same time. I unfortunately had my first day of French class the day they went on sale. I asked my two friends Kate and Anne to try for me. Anne was in Berlin and went to the ticket counter and they were all sold out. Kate did the internet on-line sale for me right at 10:00 she tired for ticket but they were sold out just as they became available. I really would like to thank them again for trying to get me tickets it is a hard job. I’m just thankful I got ticket for one show.

Tickets…so when we were in Berlin I asked everyone and anyone how they got there tickets and what the best way to get them for next time was. The very friendly lady at our hotel reception desk replied “I’m not sure most of our guests have been invited to see the shows” Thanks for rubbing that in my face! Standing in line to pick up our internet tickets I ask a frantic gay boy and he was mainly going to the low budget films call “Forums” and there were some of them left for sale but there is whole catalog of film how would I decide. Then I went and stood in line for the tickets that they did have left – not many and chatted with a girl from Canada that now lives in Germany. We chatted about everything and anything while standing in line. She was very helpful and let me look at all her catalogs and books. She even gave suggestions however we were leaving on Sunday afternoon when most of the film she suggested were showing. She was an accreted journalist and just got tickets for “The Other Boleyn Girl” and of course can only get one ticket – yes I asked if she could get more.

We also ran into a young couple that was there all week going to the shows. That is what they do every year is go to Berlin and watch movies. At Breakfast she was planning there whole day of what they were going to see when.

The Red Carpet…Friday we ran around and saw the sites then we got ready for the viewing of the stars on the red carpet. However Joe did not understand the concept of we need to get there early to get a spot. We go there a little later than I would like and were not in the front but on the side in the front row. The spot turned out to be good for this reason…this is where all the cars carrying everyone stopped before they drove the 10 feet if that to the red carpet. (They didn’t walk it because it was freezing out) So we saw everyone in the car – they were only a foot away from us if that. The problem was that when Natalie Portman was in front of us I didn’t realized it cause she had on this huge winter jacket – everyone else that went by was just in their dress or tux. I don’t think that Scarlet even stop I think they just drove down. Not sure what Natalie was wearing it was very ugly if you ask me…and Scarlet not sure what was up with her hair it was like a rats nest literally and fuzzy with piece sticking up. The camera man running the camera for the jumbo tron zoomed in on her cleavage the crowd went wild. And of course with celebrities there were protesters, some with signs and other climbing the jump tron screen in spandex suits.

Saturday we did the same thing but because it was an older cast and not as popular according to Joe we didn’t need to get there really early…it was packed by the time we got there and were on the other side which was good view of the carpet but a little further away. We saw the director posing for photos and then he went in and the main photographers were packing up…again I asked the people around me why are the photographers leaving? They said the director is in the show will start now. While I didn’t get to see Jack Black or anyone else…come to find out they were not at the fest.

Items you need for next years red carpet…more layers of clothing and most of the people had step ladders. Do you think that you could check a step ladder on the plane??

Sunday – the big day!! We got up early and checked out so that we could make our way down to the theater and be one of the first people in line to get in thinking it was general admission. We sat in Starbucks with a good view of the doors and with about an hour left before the movie we head out for our first film fest adventure.

First stop was the red carpet for a photo op. The one main gate was moved just a little so you could squeeze through so we did. It wasn’t as open as the one in Cannes so kept waiting to get yelled at for being on it.

Since it was so cold outside they were letting people line up inside the building and we were one of the first 10 people there. The countdown began…then the man the other side of the rope said oh no you need to go through these other doors behind us. Behind us!!! There were tons of people and they were still coming in, talk about feeling like a fish swimming up stream. Then we were waiting again at the main staircase for the rope to be lifted. So again I took the opportunity to chat with the people around me to get the scoop on how they got there tickets. The man beside me had a different looking ticket than mine come to find out that if you get them from the internet they are bigger in size. Then the ropes opened and most of the people were heading to the upper levels so I thought we should head to the good one since not many people were going on that level. Got an excellent seat! The place was filling up nicely with journalist wearing badges and very funky people then we noticed a man putting stickers on the seat denoting the blue zone. Oh Great I thought now we are in the wrong section and we are going to have to move up to the top where no seat are left together. So we asked the man if we could stay were we are “only if you have Blue zone on your ticket” We whipped out tickets out to see if the magic words were printed on them and by George zone blau rechts was printed on our tickets! Not that I noticed it before the whole ticket is printed in German. Not sure how I pulled that off and I’m not even going to ask I’m just glad it worked. The other levels were red, green and orange. There was never a choice when ordering tickets I just selected how many I wanted.

The movie started and before you knew it we had to duck out of the rest…but I’m glad I got to be a part of it.

That was our first experience at the Berlinale and if I have my way it will not be the last…but I need to go with some one who is willing to be adventurous. Joe was a good sport about the red carpet and following me into buildings for the film vip and Journalist but just letting me get into the lobby areas.

Hope you enjoyed reading about our trip to Berlin. OHH one note…if you can believe it our trip was so short there was no shopping…I have heard of these cute stores and not enough time to find them.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Berlin part 1

In the beginning I felt I could do our expat assignment with out visiting Germany. There are other glamourous countries and cities to see right. I also knew they were not to dog friendly unlike the French and Italians. Then I got an email about the Berlin Film Festival. Hmmmm, I could see famous people and get another photo of me on the red carpet (like the Cannes Film Fest) let’s go! So the end of January we booked the trip and arranged for Jim & Kate to watch Foxy. I checked out when the ticket were going on sale for the films on-line and we were off. (More on the film fest on the next blog entry)

So I was wrong again like when I wasn’t too excited to go to Paris and now I love Paris…How I really wanted to go to London and I got there and was disappointed and could car less if I go back. I really liked Berlin…I don’t know what to tell you about first the historical sites, the people or the city.

The city is like one big construction site, there is so much construction and remodeling going on it is crazy. The city landscape is either very very modern 85% of the buildings or the old cold war building that are square cement and being torn down. It is also very westernized…Starbucks, McDonalds, Dunken Donuts and more. In Brussels we only have McDonalds and the closest Starbucks is in Paris with the Gap or Achen Germany. I think I just needed a little taste of home with at European twist for right now.

They also have some unique stop lights - Ampelmännchen - (German: little traffic light man) is the symbolic person shown on pedestrian traffic lights at pedestrian crossings in the former GDR. The red Ampelmännchen extends his arms to signal "stop," and the green Ampelmännchen confidently strides ahead to signal "go."

Now I just found out that they are replacing the burnt out light with the standard cross walk lights. How boring!

The people are extremely nice, maybe the nicest people we have meet on our European travels. I can not express how nice and helpful they were. I felt really safe and for once o.k. to let people know we were Americans.

The sites and history…

Berliner Mauer “The Berlin Wall” - The 100-mile "Anti-Fascist Protective Rampart," as it was called by the East German government, was erected almost overnight in 1961 to stop the outward flow of people (3 million poured out between 1949 and 1961). The Wall, which was 13-feet high, had a 16-foot tank ditch, a no-man's-land that was 30 to 160 feet wide, and 300 sentry towers. During its 28 years there were 1,693 cases when border guards fired, 3,221 arrests, and 5,043 documented successful escapes (565 of these were East German guards).

There is a cobble stone outline on the ground all around the city were the wall once was.

The Wall came down on November 9, 1989. I don’t really remember it coming down due to the fact I was in college. I however remember buying my dad a piece of the wall at Dayton’s in Grand Forks, North Dakota for Christmas.

Haus Am Checkpoint Charlie
The Cold War years, especially the history and horror of the Berlin Wall, are engrossingly if haphazardly chronicled in this private museum. The best bits are about ingenious escapes to the West in hot-air balloons, tunnels, concealed compartments in cars and even a one-man submarine.

This was an interesting museum full of photos and stories of escapes. They even had the Disney movie showing called “night crossing” from 1982 about the Strelzyk and Wetzel families, who on September 16, 1979 escaped from East Germany to West Germany in a homemade hot air balloon. They even had there hot air balloon in the museum. I don’t remember the story on the news, however I due remember going to see the movie.

Brandenburg Gate -This colossal neo-classical arch, built in 1791, is the last survivor of 14 gates in Berlin's old city wall (this one led to the city of Brandenburg). The gate was the symbol of Prussian Berlin...and later the symbol of a divided Berlin. It's crowned by a majestic four-horse chariot with the Goddess of Peace at the reins. Napoleon took this statue to the Louvre in Paris in 1806. When the Prussians got it back, she was renamed the Goddess of Victory.

Humboldt University- which we just stumbled upon because they were having a outdoor book market. We purchased Das Grobe Buch der Heinzelmannchen or The rough book to the Heinzelmannchen (gnome) it describes the whole history of the gnomes in German but the pictures are priceless. So if you ever want to know anything about the size, weight or food they eat let me know and I will look it up in the book.

Famous people that studied at the University -Marx and Lenin, as did Grimm (both brothers), and more than two dozen Nobel Prize winners. Albert Einstein taught here until taking a spot at Princeton in 1932.

Kennedy Museum, which we just saw by accident by the Brandenburg Gate was a nice stop. When I was looking gat the photos while Joe was putting stuff in the lockers a man asked if he could take my picture while I was looking at the photos. He had one of those really nice camera (Karen you know the kind that doesn’t make sound when the picture is taken) with a huge lens How crazy is that?

Kennedy Museum-US president John F Kennedy of ' Ich bin ein Berliner ' fame is the focus of this intimate, nonpolitical exhibit set up like a walk-through family photo album. Besides pictures there are scribbled notes, JKF's crocodile-leather briefcase, Jackie's Persian lamb pillbox hat and a hilarious Superman comic book edition starring the president.

The new Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, consisting of more than 2,700 gravestone-like pillars, was completed in 2005 and stands behind the new embassy. An underground exhibition center studies the Nazi system of extermination, while humanizing the victims with vivid personal accounts. What you can't tell is there are people walking all around it is on a slant and the pillars get to be 12' tall in the middle.

Topographie des Terrors -Between 1933 and 1945, the central institutions responsible for the repressive and criminal policies of National Socialism were located on the terrain of the Topography of Terror. Here, in close proximity to the traditional government district, the Secret State Police, the SS leadership and the Reich Security Main Office set up their offices.

There is still a lot more to see that we didn’t get to.

To rap it up…I would recommend Berlin (not the best food, but I don’t like German food (Joe did) so I had Italian and French which is best left to them not the Germans) Disclamer – it does has history but it is very modern and artsy if your looking for old world Europe not the best city for architecture you need to go to Paris or Rome.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Joe's weekend find

this is a 1920's hand carved Flemish hutch.

Be Mine?

From Brussels with Love
Happy Valentines Day
Belgium flag - not official - used to show support for the county due to the fact we still don't have a goverment.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Camera Test 1, 2, 3

Foxy not playing nice

Air Plane Streams

Watch Your Step!

Flagey Market

Friday, February 8, 2008

Small events of the last couple weeks

• The sun shined yesterday and today all day!!! Happy Jill & Happy Foxy – Joe is in Minnesota with the snow.

• The number 60 bus was on time twice in one week – hair appointment and doctor - really this is a big deal.

• My personal trained asked what classes I’m doing at the gym…Stretching and toning I replied. To quote him “That is a bad class there is no Stretching in that class just dance”. Yes I found that out I was sore for 3 days after.

• Spring has sprung here…March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December and January showers bring February flowers.

• A car load and I mean loaded of young men motioned for us to roll down our window one Sunday night on General Jacques and asked Ou est Paris? Or where is Paris…We said a couple more streets then turn right to the highway. As they pulled over we saw the French license plate. Crazy Kids.

• My camera died on New Years Eve. A replacement is on the way.

• Voted in the first Global Primary. Very exciting it made me feel like I was home and part of the action.

• I got 30 big tulips for 10 euros one week and the other 50 tulips for 10 euros - I love tulips!

• Had hot chocolate with my friend Vivian at her huge house – she is the ambassadors of Equator’s wife. Talk about pressure for manners – and she was sorry the day I was over she only had one person to help us.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Super Bowl

oh how I would like to watch the big game with some buffalo wings.
Hope you all enjoy it for US!!

weekend find

I found 6 very amazing small plates and a serving platter on saturday-now I just need company to use them...hint hint.

And if any one could help me out with a pattern name or year that would be great.

Friday, February 1, 2008


So I had this idea that I should get in shape for my 40th b-day. Inspired mostly by the 40ish crowd Demi Moore, SJP and Madonna (her arms) who look even better now than they did in their 20’s.

Unfortunately my muscles are turning to mush from not using them due to my crazy arthritis. So I joined a health club this week. It is between a Northwest and Lake Calhoun Beach Club for looks and services.

Today I tried it for the first time…got there in plenty of time for the 10:30 class, after taking the bus and metro and walking 3 very big blocks. That should be the workout if you ask me.

Sitting outside the class of stretch & tone a novice or debutants class with 2 other new people to the club, thinking I can handle stretching. Even though I haven’t stretched in years, come to think of it I haven’t been able to move in years. Oh my was I wrong…or they should change the name of the class to intro to ballet. My instructor was a professional dancer, imaging if you can a very French Mikhail Baryshnikov with a shaved head and legs as an instructor. I’m not the most flexible person and this guy could stick both legs out on each side like the splits and lean forward so he was completely laying flat on the floor, I can’t even touch my toes. Then if your arms were not straight or any other position that was not correct he would say no no correct what ever was wrong. Yes mostly to me…Ohhh I forgot to mention the added stress is that this is all in French.

Anyway to get to the point I’m extremely sore and my arms feel like they weigh a ton to lift…Monday I have my orientation on the equipment with a training program worked up for me. I’m not sure what I was thinking about when I decided to get in shape.