Types of Donkeys

Ever since I saw the lovable donkey who is the cute piglet’s best friend in a cartoons show, I have always been fascinated by donkeys. Now that I am a teenager, the desire to have a donkey for a pet is stronger. However, my parents do not like the idea. I think I have to save up so I can buy my own donkey in the near future. But sometimes I cannot decide on what type of donkey to finally buy.

Donkeys, related to horses and zebras, vary in colors from the most usual gray, brown, black, strawberry, to white. Even if nearly all of the domesticated ones are not pure breeds anymore due to cross breeding, several distinct breeds can still be found around the globe. The types of donkeys are:

  • Standard Donkey. Nearly all of the owned donkeys are normally classified according to size. But the standard donkey type is not immediately recognizable anymore because of cross breeding. Their sizes vary from small standard (36.01 up to 40 inches), standard (40.01 up to 48 inches), and the big standard (48.01up to 54 inches for the female ones and a maximum of 56 inches for the males) Mammoth Donkeys. As it name literally means, this type of donkey is large. It was bred to become a working animal. The male mammoth donkey should be 58 inches while the female should be at the minimum 56 inches.
  • American Spotted Ass. Strictly, this is a donkey which is registered with ACSA (American Council of Spotted Asses), a group interested in this breed’s preservation. All of the breeds may feature a spotted look but the specific type American Spotted Ass actually is a donkey that has been bred with another within the ACSA to maintain the spotted trait.
  • Cypriot Donkey. This type of donkey is known for its more amiable character, and by its bigger, floppier ears. In the past, these donkeys were initially bred to work. Nowadays, because of these donkeys’ work ethics, they are still being utilized as working animals in some places.
  • Poitou Donkeys. Numerous individuals have not heard of this donkey type since this is among the rarest breeds but it is gradually increasing in population again following its label as an endangered species. The dwindling of numbers was because of this breed’s not being a working animal and because of its disposition. This breed is the biggest among the donkey breeds. They have shaggy coats.

Personally, I prefer to own a gray Standard donkey. Since I am big, I want a big donkey. I just hope that its price is not as big as its size, though. Anyway, now that I have a specific type of donkey in mind, I can set my goal realistically. Afterwards, I will make a stable or a house outside our home. And I will call my new pet ‘Lovely” because that is what donkeys are. I will feed her nothing but the best, even if it means begging my parents for money. Oh, my parents? I forgot that I still have to convince them to permit me to have a pet donkey.

The Best Day at the Beach

If you ask me what my best day at the beach is, it is when the sun is shining brightly on a weekend or a holiday when there is no work. Please do not get me wrong, I do not hate rains nor the snow, but I just love getting tanned under the hot sun. Well, I may be somewhat biased here, being a sun-lover, but I truly love being at the beach on a sunny work-free day.
My Beach Gear
Our house is far from beaches, but I do not mind the long drive as long as I am sure to get my lovely tan. In this regard, I always keep my beach gear in a waterproof tote bag in one corner of our home, always ready to be picked up when I feel like heading to the nearest beach on a work-free day. What are inside that tote bag? I have a bathing suit, a pair of sun glasses, goggles, a small towel, a pair of shorts, a loose shirt, a pair of slippers, a big hat, a small water cooler, and a bottle of sunblock lotion in case the heat of the sun becomes quite unbearable. Just the usual beach gear, I suppose.
Lazy Day at the Beach
Actually, when I am in the office, I sometimes daydream that I am at the beach. I picture myself either swimming or simply walking along the seashore one lazy day. I am not an excellent swimmer who knows the different strokes and techniques, but I can swim even without my goggles. I know the freestyle and the butterfly strokes very well. But, when it is high tide and the waves seem to be angry, I have difficulties in swimming properly. I subsequently picture myself attempting to swim back to shore, meeting a big scary-looking fish along the way. Will the fish bite me? Or should I bite it first? I think I will…Then, a co-worker snaps me out of my daydream. Back to work.
Alone at the Beach?
Yes, I am alone there, enjoying the sunlight and my new tan when I reach home. I love both the beach and the sun. Perhaps one day I will buy a house at the beach and stay there until I die. I hope my future husband and kids will adore the beach as much as I adore it. Not that I long for a husband already. I do not even have a boyfriend yet. Kids? I love kids and I even babysit my favorite neighbor’s kids, who are 5 and 10 years old, during special occasions. My own kids? That is another story, but I guess I will love them as much as I love myself and the beach. Oh, the beach. There can be nothing more perfect than a sunny day at the beach, being carefree because there is no work, savoring the warm wind and the hot sun. For me, at least. And for my future husband and kids.

South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival

The month of March is fast approaching and I am very excited because my parents, my siblings, and I are anticipating the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival here in Austin, Texas, United States. SXSW, run by a company called SXSW Inc., started in 1987. From thereon, it has grown in size each year. Last 2011, the conference carried on for 10 days.
What Is the South by Southwest Festival?

The SXSW is actually one set of film, music, and interactive festivals and conferences. SXSW Film is literally a film festival, one that focuses on fresh directing talent. Meanwhile, SXSW Music is the biggest music festival of this kind in the entire globe, with over 2,500 performers/bands (official) playing in over 100 venues. There are music pieces provided by the respective artists, as well as video samples of the participating artists in every festival through YouTube. Lastly, SXSW Interactive is centered on emerging technology, and has earned the whole festival a reputation of being a nurturing ground for creative technologies and fresh ideas. My family and I love to witness all three major festivals!

History of the SXSW Festival
Way back July of 1986, New Music Seminar’s (a music festival of New York City) organizers contacted Roland Swenson who is a staffer of The Austin Chronicle regarding the organization of an extension of such festival into Austin. Those plans did not push through, so Swenson decided on co-organizing a local music festival instead, with Louis Black’s and Nick Barbaro’s (both from the Chronicle) help. Then, Louis Meyers (a musician and booking agent) was also included. The SXSW name was brought up by Black. Thanks to these people, the first event materialized in March 1987. However, Meyers left Austin in the early part of the 1990s, leaving the festival as well. As of 2010, Barbaro, Swenson, and Black remained the key organizers.

SXSW 2012
I had a great time last year, from March 9 to 18, the duration of the South by Southwest  2012. SXSW Interactive’s standout technology was generally referred to as “social discovery” mobile apps because it allowed users to locate other users nearby. I was able to use my IPhone extensively! More so, I loved ‘21 Jump Street’ and ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ which were two big Hollywood films that premiered during the SXSW Film event. I have always been a huge fan of Channing Tatum and Kristen Connolly, and they were both awesome in those movies. Finally, SXSW Music included my fave rappers Lil’ Wayne and Talib Kweli. Also, there were surprise appearances (boy, we were really surprised!) by Kanye West and Big Sean. But the happiest of all during SXSW 2012 was my mom, because the keynote speaker to open the music portion was her favorite Bruce Springsteen. Meanwile, my siblings adored KB, Trip Lee, and Andy Mineo who also performed. Well, as for my dad, he simply liked them all!

We are looking forward to South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival 2013! I hope you can join us.

5 Popular Tapas Dishes from Andalucia

My paternal grandparents come from Andalucia which is the 2nd biggest in area and the most populous among the autonomous communities within Spain. Officially identified as one nationality of Spain, the Andalusian autonomous community has eight provinces, namely: Jaén, Málaga, Cádiz, Córdoba, Seville, Almería, Granada, and Huelva. Grandpa is from Granada, famous for the Alhambra, while grandma is from Malaga, home of Marbella and Mijas, both famous for beaches and golf.

As I was growing up, my dad taught me how to speak and write in Spanish, thus my fluency in the language. On the other hand, he also taught me how to cook tapas.

What Are Tapas?
Tapas are actually bite sized food pieces that are served with drinks in a bar, and Granada’s (where grandpa is from) Andalucian region is the only location where tapas remain complimentary. Actually, the term ‘tapa’ means cover, and it is among the historical explanations of tapas’ origin, when tavern or bar owners would put a small bread piece over a customer’s glass to discourage the flies from dipping into the drink. These days, tapas symbolize the openness and warmth of the social lifestyle of the Spanish people. Indeed, there is really nothing like a chat and a drink with some buddies, with yummy nibbles to go with the pleasant experience. Spanish Tapas are a real celebration of Spain’s culture and the social manner of life wherein the Spanish are popular for.

5 Popular Tapas Dishes from Andalucia That I Love Most
Many thanks to my grandparents who taught my dad how to cook delicious tapas, and many thanks to my dad who taught me in turn, I can now prepare delicious tapas. Below are 5 popular tapas dishes that my grandparents used to cook during their younger years in Andalucia:
Chicken and Chorizo
The ingredients are one chicken breast (a de-boned leg will also do) that is cut into bite size bits, 100 grams of Chorizo that is sliced, olive oil, 8 cloves garlic cloves (with the skins left on) which are crushed, 8 peppercorns, and 100ml of red wine. First, heat a frying pan with a small amount of olive oil. Brown the small chicken pieces. Throw in the crushed garlic, and fry for five minutes. Then, add the chorizo and the peppercorns, followed with the red wine, and wait until it is reduced by half. Turn the chicken. Cover. Turn the heat down and simmer for around 10 minutes.

Planchitas
Roughly chop 8 peeled garlic cloves as well as a hand full of fresh parsley. Then, place 8 tiny and thin pork chops or fillets in a shallow dish, to be sprinkled with the chopped garlic and parsley. Mix with the juice of a lemon, and marinade in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. For a more subtle flavor, marinate for an hour only. Subsequently, grill for a few minutes per side until cooked and tender. Before serving, sprinkle with pepper and salt.

Spanish Whiting
Clean 9 whiting fish well, removing the innards and heads but leaving them whole. Coat each fish with Spanish Harina de Trigo Fritos y Rebozados, shaking off the excess flour. Fry the fish thoroughly for a few minutes, in batches of 2 or 3, in olive oil that is hot. Make sure that each side is golden and lovely.

stuffed mushrooms chorizoChorizo Stuffed Mushrooms
On a baking tray, place 12 medium mushroom caps (the stalks removed earlier). Then, place one thin slice of chorizo into every mushroom cap (12 slices from 1 chorizo sausage). Sprinkle grated 50g Manchego cheese on top of each chorizo piece. Drizzle olive oil on top of the mushroom caps. Oven bake for 20 minutes, on a medium heat.

Sherried Chorizo
Lightly fry 1 diced Spanish onion in a pan with olive oil till it starts to brown. On the other hand, slice 3 chorizo sausages into ½ inch pieces. Add the chopped garlic (3 cloves), ½ teaspoon hot paprika, and 250 ml of Fino de Jerez sherry to the onion till the sherry is reduced. Pour one cup of warm water, allowing it to simmer for ten minutes. Thicken the mixture then add parsley, seasoning it with pepper. Stir well.

Visiting New Mexico

I have just been to New Mexico on a two-week trip with my best friends. Our flight has been a little rough because of rains along the way but everything was worth it. The flight attendants were very helpful and friendly, and the foods they served were so yummy.

New Mexico is in the United States’ southwest and western regions. The state of New Mexico is typically regarded to be among the Mountain States. Of all the 50 United States, New Mexico is the 36th of the most populated, 6th of the least thickly populated, and 5th of the most extensive. While we were there, we enjoyed seeing the mountains from afar, while riding the car of our host family. One day, our host sisters pointed to the direction of the Big Burro Mountains while we were travelling, and I gasped with amazement at those mountains’ beauty.

When we arrived in Silver City, New Mexico, the temperature was about 18 degrees Celsius. Although we are used to the cold, my friends and I were shivering when we went out of the airport towards our host father’s car. It was definitely the mixed emotions of visiting New Mexico for the first time that made us cold. Oh, well, the climate in the whole of New Mexico, as our host dad told us, is usually semi-arid to arid. But there are places of alpine and continental climates, with the territory frequently covered by desert, mountains, and high plains. The average temperature annually can be from 18 degrees Celsius in the southeast area to less than 4 degrees Celsius in the mountains of the northern area. New Mexico experiences snow, with the most snow in the mountains’ higher elevations.

How About the People?
For many centuries, New Mexico has been resided by indigenous individuals of the Americas, and has been part of New Spain’s (part of Mexico) Imperial Spanish viceroyalty. Among the states of the U.S., New Mexico has the most number of Hispanics, including Spanish colonists’ descendants and new settlers from Latin America. All in all, the culture and demographics of New Mexico are distinct for their strong Native-American and Hispanic influences. Our hosts were pretty and handsome Spanish people who could speak both English and Spanish fluently.

silver-city-new-mexicoThe Places We Visited
Silver City started as a mining town, and has undergone a long history of the Wild West. Proofs of such historical milestones were evident in the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument which we visited on our 2nd day. On the succeeding days, we went to the Silver City Museum, the Western New Mexico University Museum, the Bear Mountain Lodge, among many more awesome places.

Where We Will Visit Next Time
That was definitely not our last trip to New Mexico. We will go back there, most particularly in Santa Fe, sometime this year. I love art and I would want to visit the big artistic community in Santa Fe, and go to its wonderful museums.

New beginnings

While i find new beginnings sometimes difficult, it is necessary in many situations. We have been travelling for a long time and want to show our visitors a different side of what stimulates us and our friends and family.

We have been to Oklahoma and Jacksonville recently to check out the many wonders of these great cities.

What many people don’t know is that the name Oklahoma is a combination of 2 Choctaw words, “okla” and “humma”, which translates as “red people”, the original settlers of the area before Europeans arrived. Locals are called “Okies” and the area is quite rich economically due to to its natural resources including gas, oil, and agriculture.

Culturally, Oklahoma, is home to a wide diverse range of different art and music. The Philbrook Museum of art and native Indian pow wows are some of the different type of cultural celebrations. Hell, there’s even the Oklahoma Mozart Festival, Egyptian art collections and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, yeeeha!!!
Philbrook Museum of Art

Anyway, onto Jacksonville, the largest city in Florida. The city is quite popular for golf tourism but we aren’t golfers so we skipped the offer. We did check out the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville and the very impressive Museum of Science & History.
MOSH
Once we had our fill of culture, we moved onto the local cuisine. If you like cooking, head to the Beach Boulevard Flea Market to pick up some fine fresh vegetables. We tried some kick-ass bbq at Mojo’s Barbecue, i chose the Whole hawg (whole hog) and it was finger licking tasty.

Ludowe

Ludowe is a lovely village in the south west of Poland. While this village is mainly unknown outside Poland, the town is only 58 kilometers from the regional capital, Wrocław.

The city of Wrocław has been the focus of much investment in recent years in an effort to stimulate the culture and economy of this city.

Ludowe is also known for being home to one of the many traditional Polish folk costumes:
Ludowe Traditional Dress

Ludowe Traditional Dress Men

Ludowe Traditional Dress & Shawl

Traditional costumes in Poland are still used for celebrations and fairs. There is such a rich history and pride among many people in towns such as Ludowe towards their traditions and culture.

City Garden

The entire time I’ve been here in Oklahoma City, I haven’t ventured far from home too often but only because I’m hopeful that I will be returning later this month on a permanent basis. There is truly a lot to see here and I like to think I will have all the time in the world once July comes to a close.

Anyway, I often pass by this gated city park on my way down 36th Street to May Avenue. Even from the outside, one can see the meticulous landscaping and grounds work that is put into the place. This is Will Rogers Park, by the way, and it’s on the National Registry of Historic Places. There is a building for garden exhibitions, a single one used as a tennis training center, an outdoor playground, and even a community pool and splash park. But the signs that caught my attention a few weeks ago were those directing visitors to the arboretum and the rose garden. Last week, I finally decided to take a walk inside the gates.

Some of the places I saw in this park reminded me of a real-life version of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, but only those parts of the film when Alice and her sister are supposed to be reading lessons under the shade of a tree. Instead of swans, though, there were geese and Dinah wasn’t there, either. However, I do recall Alice talking about how much she enjoyed books that were filled only with pictures.

 

 

New Tradition

A fun Fourth of July tradition may be in the works.

Last year, I spent the holiday with some family and friends at the Jacksonville Suns baseball game. After our home team’s one-run loss, we were treated to fireworks accompanied by Lee Greenwood’s song God Bless the USA, which always makes me cry.

This year, Elle and I were again at a baseball game, but this one was in Oklahoma City. Matt had scored some free tickets in club seating. The three of us cheered for an exceptionally loooong time (a nearly-5 hour long game, with an extra inning to boot) for our new home team, the Oklahoma City Redhawks. After our home team’s one-run WIN, we were treated to fireworks accompanied by some really cheesy 80s music montage about the greatness of America, followed by Lee Greenwood’s song God Bless the USA,which immediately made me cry. Because damn that song.

If I find myself at another minor league baseball game next year for the Fourth of July, I’ll be fully convinced that this tradition was meant to be.

*****

On the way home, which was around midnight because, well…longest game in HISTORY, I began craving something to eat but it had to include maple syrup. Matt offered to take me anywhere I wanted to go until Elle mentioned she was hungry, too. We decided on French toast – the homemade kind, not something from Denny’s or IHOP. So we headed straight home so I could whip up some French toast in the middle of the night.

EXCEPT…

The chocolate lab had managed to jump the kitchen counter while we were gone and snag the brown lunch sack that was full of garlic bulbs. It was all right there in front of us as we walked through the back door into the kitchen. No worries, though. The bag was intact and the bulbs had pretty much been left alone, but I noticed something else was missing, too.

The loaf of bread was no longer on the counter. Also, the hot dog buns were gone. Nobody got to eat any French toast that night. Hmmph!

(This is not something I want to continue as a Fourth of July tradition, by the way.)

these peaches dont come from a factory downtown

I went a little overboard in quantity the other day when I bought some peaches from the OSU-OKC Farmers Market. My shopping list included only three things: okra, tomatoes, and fruit. It didn’t matter what kind of fruit because I am not familiar with Oklahoma’s seasonal stuff yet, I just wanted something fresh and local.

The first vendor I saw when I walked into the pavilion was selling peaches and there was a line of people waiting to get their hands on some. That’s always a good sign. So I waited my turn, handed over my cash, and came home with a basketful of peaches.

Because of my deep loyalty to the South (some the first things I made when I got to Oklahoma were a gallon of sweet tea and a key lime pie), I publicly declared on Facebook that no other peach could possibly be better than a Georgia peach, although South Carolina peaches are pretty darn tasty, too. This didn’t necessarily cause an uproar but my husband called me out, and rightfully so.

You can’t judge our Oklahoma peaches until you’ve actually eaten one!”

I’ll admit it – I hadn’t even put a bite of an Oklahoma peach in my mouth yet before I’d downgraded it to some kind of substandard replacement for the real thing from Georgia.

And here is where I make my public apology, because these Oklahoma peaches are freakin’ delicious! I have eaten at least one each day since Sunday, mostly for breakfast but sometimes for dessert. Sadly, I don’t think they’re being eaten quickly enough because a few of them are becoming wrinkly and squishier than they should be, but I’m doing my best!

Some people might say, why don’t you can them? And I have two reasons for why I am saying no.

  1. I’m too lazy to learn and, quite frankly, I don’t want to.
  2. Why save for later what you can EAT RIGHT NOW!!!???

Surprisingly, I am not yet sick of eating peaches. I am, however, sick of this song playing over and over and over in my head, though. Does this little ditty pop into your head every time you hear the word peaches? Damn you, 1995.