If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’ve been struggling to express my half Scottishness through the making of shortbread.
It’s butter, sugar and flour: how can anyone screw that up? And yet, I have managed to find way after way.
Yesterday I made one perfect batch. So perfect that I got a little overconfident. I thought that I had this shortbread thing figured out. Now I know how to make shortbread, I can look back at my hilarious past mistakes and laugh.
So I set out to make another pan of shortbread today.
So maybe you were wondering what happens when you don’t measure the butter carefully enough and add too much of it to the shortbread dough.
This was supposed to be shortbread, after I scraped it out of the pan
Apparently too much butter keeps everything from sticking together.
I wonder if my Croatian side is having a bit of revenge, after my arrogant claims of Scottishness permeating my being? Croatian me is saying, “Screw this baking shit. Go have a burek.”
Update: I have discovered that mixing Epic Shortbread Fail into cherry yogurt results in something that tastes a lot like cherry pie. Yum.
My balcony under the snow.
View from my balcony, December 8 2012
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So I’m watching a preview for a Croatian movie called Sto minuta Slave, or 100 Minutes of Glory, about the life of painter Slava Raškaj. (Her last name’s pronounced something like Rash-key. Her first name also means “glory”, so the title of the film is a pun.)
Slava Raškaj, self-portrait
Raškaj is known as the greatest watercolorist in Croatian art. Deaf since birth, she studied art in Vienna (Croatia was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire at the time) and painted her most famous watercolors in the Botanical Gardens in Zagreb. There are a couple of them in the Modern Art Gallery in Zagreb. Other than this, there is damn little material available about her or her life.
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So I just spent a week or so as the involuntary guest of the government of a small Balkan country. They were rash enough to allow me the use of a set of watercolors.
Those who haven’t much experience with painting might not know this, but watercolors are actually the hardest kind of paint to master. That free, spontaneous look they have? Takes a ton of planning, practice, and “saving whites”. Oils are a cinch by comparison. With oils, you can scrape off your mistakes before they dry.
Anyway, here’s one of my prison paintings, entitled “Half-Assed Tribute to Clyfford Still”.
Half-Assed Tribute to Clyfford Still, by M.K. Hajdin
The photo quality is half-assed, too. Just to keep up with the half-assed spirit of things.
I took this yesterday on my way to Gostisce Dular for some takeaway food. I was busy working on a grant proposal so I had no time to eat there.
This is a pond, called a ribnik in Slovene. It’s stocked with fish – riba – and you can fish there if your heart’s set on it, but I’d rather go to the restaurant next to it and let them do the scaling and gutting. It’s operated by the Dular family, who makes some of the best wine in this country.
Sometimes my photos aren’t so bad after all. Maybe some of Brendan’s advice is finally sinking in.
Tree in front of housing project in Brezice. I am really busy this week, readers, so I must fob you off with my random photographs.
Housing projects in Brezice are not that bad
A 1960s vintage Yugoslav sewing machine called Visnja - "Cherry".
My dear blog readers, I have about 10 posts cooking on the blog stove, but none of them are ready to serve yet.
Also, my house still looks like Hurricane M just hit it, and I have to do something about that despite the brain fog and fatigue left over from the intense rottenness of this week.
Speaking of rottenness, there is something decaying in the back of my refrigerator that really deserves a decent burial.
So I leave you with this vintage Yugoslav sewing machine, and please tune in tomorrow for Sundays with Clyfford Still. I will be talking about what happens when two artists marry but one is a Great Male Artist and the other one is just a woman.
I wanted to post something more insightful today, but I still feel like I’ve just been through a bomb blast and am crawling over broken concrete.
All I have to give you, reader, is another pictorial representation of the paper factory in Krsko. Take it as a visual metaphor for the way I’m feeling.
That's my soul up there
“But, M., ” I can hear you say, “your soul is pure GLAMOUR!”
It’s a statue in front of the local electric plant.
Nikola Tesla brooding in front of the power station
N. Tesla. So you don’t mix him up with any of the other famous Teslas.
This melting of snow had nothing to do with Virginia Astley’s lovely song.
Though if love HAD melted it, it would have been awesome.
Temperature: Slightly Less Freezing (obviously)