Friday, January 25, 2013

The Danish String Quartet

 For Christmas Christopher bought me tickets to go see the Danish String Quartet at the Collins Center for the Arts.  I was quite the musician when I was younger and have harbored a love for classical music ever since.

The whole concert lasted a little less than two hours. They played String Quartet in D Minor, K. 421 by Mozart, String Quartet No. 1 “Kreutzer” by L. Janacek and String Quartet in F Major, Op. 44 by Nielsen. They also came out for an encore piece, a part of the Sønderho Bridal Trilogy, a traditional Danish wedding song that dates back about 400 years.  This was song was just lovely and the perfect piece to end with.

The quartet was simply fantastic. They were an incredibly lively group and played all the pieces with unmatched energy and passion. They were witty but not arrogant and a complete joy to watch. They do not do many US tours, but if they do stop in the area definitely go. You will not regret it.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Kite Runner

As promised, this is my book review of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. This novel was absolutely brilliant. It was one of the best works I have read in months, and has possibly catapulted itself onto my favorite books list.

The book contains layers upon layers of themes.  On one hand The Kite Runner is about the brutal history of twentieth century Afghanistan. The novel portrays the transformation of the Afghan government from an affluent monarchy to an oppressive Communist satellite to a horrifying terrorist regime.  On the other hand, the book centers upon the life of Amir, a wealthy Pashtun who craves the love of his disapproving father and yet shuns his adoring Hazara servant Hassan. The beginning of the novel focuses upon the jealousy, callousness and the racial divides of this relational triangle.

The second part of the novel follows Amir and his father as they flee from the Soviet Union and immigrate to California. They attempt to adjust to their new surroundings and construct their own American dream. Amir’s father is humbled by their immigration and eventually contents himself with his circumstances and relationship with his son.

Eventually Amir is offered the opportunity to heal his relationship with Hassan. The last part of the portion recounts his efforts to redeem himself, and in a way, recover a small part of a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan.

The novel is simply, but beautifully written.  I will end with my favorite quote from the book which I feel ultimately expresses the essence of the novel. “ I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Right now it is snowing. The weather has gone through such drastic changes this past week. On Monday it was actually in the low fifties. It apparently had not been that warm in January since 1995. Christopher and I went for a walk through Prentiss Woods in order to enjoy the unseasonal weather.

 Do not worry; Maine is not being too nice to us. Yesterday the weather was back in the twenties and we are supposed to see some negative temperatures tomorrow and this weekend.  There will also be a heck of a lot more snow.

I actually do not mind the snow. I am excited to go sledding down the hill again and perhaps get a chance to construct a proper snowman. The snow was beginning to look a little dirty outside. Now it will be white, pristine, and ready for outdoorsy activities once again. Watching snow fall is also rather enjoyable. The flakes have become larger and have started falling faster as I have been writing this post.

This week is also the start of a new semester for Christopher and me. I wore this lovely necklace to my first day of classes that Miss Lizzy sent me for Christmas. 

Other than this peculiar weather and the start of the new semester life has been very mellow. I joined Christopher at Staples when we returned from our vacation with our families. Business is rather slow but I enjoy working there. I should be learning how to run the copy center soon. I have also started my own personal research. I am currently reading a book about colonial primary education which I find to be really informative and fascinating. I think, my friends, that I have found my calling in that regard.

Christopher and I will be attending a classical concert this weekend, which of course I shall write about here.  I might also do a book review of The Kite Runner. I just finished the book a few days ago and it was- well you shall find out next time. Until then- Allonsy!

Early Mardi Gras: Slow Cooker Jambalaya

Christopher and I love Cajun food. The spice and flavors are just fantastic. When I saw this slow cooker recipe here for jambalaya, I just knew we had to try it. It is a rather simple recipe but delicious and makes excellent leftovers.

Yields: 5-6 servings
Time: 7-8 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high plus 10 minutes of prep time

1 pound of skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes
1 pound of smoked turkey sausage, sliced
1 (28 ounce) can of diced tomatoes with juice
3 Tablespoons of dried minced onion flakes
1 cup of chicken broth
2 teaspoons of dried oregano
2 teaspoons of dried parsley
2 teaspoons of minced garlic
2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning (we used some sent from our friend Carter! Thanks Carter!)
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
White rice or instant rice

  1. Slice the chicken breasts and turkey sausage
  2. In a slow cooker, mix the chicken, sausage, tomatoes with juice, onion, garlic, celery, and broth. Season with oregano, parsley, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, and thyme. 
  3. Cover, and cook 7 to 8 hours on Low, or 3 to 4 hours on High. Mix in cooked rice cook for about 15 minutes to warm through.

See, super simple and absolutely delicious.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Haunted Fort, Haunted Cemetery

True to my New Year’s resolution we visited Fort Knox and the town of Bucksport yesterday. This town is about half an hour from Bangor and was a very easy drive along the Penobscot River.
Fort Knox was built after the Aroostook War, a time period during which the U.S./Canadian border was highly contested. The fort never saw battle, but was manned during the Spanish-American War and the Civil War. I have a feeling that my sister Kaitlin would appreciate that the fort was supposedly confirmed as haunted by the television series Ghost Hunters.
Tours of the fort will not resume until the spring, however we were able to explore the grounds.  The grounds were wonderful. The fort was covered in snow and there was something beautifully eerie about the place.

A view of Bucksport from the fort

 One of the batteries was even open! Christopher and I had quite a bit of fun exploring. 

After our run around the grounds we explored the neighboring town of Bucksport. We browsed through the local bookstore BookStacks (where I befriended the owner’s cat) and Christopher finally 
 bought a pair of snow boots from winter clothing shop. 

We also visited the Buck Memorial Library which was donated in the memory of Richard Pike Buck by his wife and daughter. The Library contained original records from the town of Bucksport (established in 1763) and some fantastic old family portraits.  

After our rendezvous in town we searched for the supposedly cursed tomb of founder Colonel Jonathan Buck. A woman was accused of witchcraft and was brought before Colonel Buck. She was tried and sentenced (there has been debate as to whether she was hung or burned on the stake). The woman announced that if she was killed she would forever dance on the tomb of the colonel.  Colonel Buck soon died and his grave was marked by an ordinary tombstone. In 1852 his descendants decided to erect a larger granite memorial in his honor.
One morning the unmistakable mark of a leg and a foot appeared on the front of the monument. The townspeople first thought that the memorial had been vandalized. They attempted to clean the memorial, but it did not work. The memorial was replaced three times but the mark always reappeared.
Now I do not believe in ghost stories, but I was determined to find the tomb for my sister’s sake. It turns out the Bucksport has A LOT of cemeteries- a least five in town plus more on the outskirts. We went to the wrong cemetery but I was still able to capture these rather haunting photos of an old cemetery at sunset during the dead of winter. 

 Yesterday was fantastic and I am eager to explore more!