Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Sad Time

A lot has been going on here and while Mr. Milk and I are doing well, the island is in a bit of chaos.

Last week, several containers of ammunition – part of a stockpile of 98 containers confiscated in 2009 from an Iranian ship heading for Syria  exploded at the navy base near a coastal town. Thirteen men were killed including twin brothers who were helping their commander and six firemen put out a fire that was threatening the containers. The naval base was destroyed, and the brand new power station right next door – responsible for delivering over 50% of Cyprus's electrical power – was so badly damaged that it will have to be rebuilt and this will take months. Nearby houses and villages were extensively damaged and sixty-two people were injured, one remains critical.

Despite numerous reports from the Base Commander and other senior officers stating that the containers were deteriorating and that urgent action needed to be taken, nothing was done. And a brush fire, so common during these hot summer days, triggered a catastrophe. Due to the integrity of the base commander, who ordered hundreds of conscripts packed into trucks and evacuated rather than sending them out to fight the fire, the early hour of the morning, leading to a nearly empty motorway rather than one packed with commuters, and that it was not a weekend, packed with people at the beach and local fish taverns, this tragedy is still not as bad as it could have been.

Everyone here is angry. This being such a small country, most people somehow know someone who was affected by this. Even if you weren't directly affected, the wipe out of the new power station means that the entire island is being rationed electricity because the two remaining power stations are old and cannot keep up. We have our electricity cut one to two times a day, for 2hour time periods each time. Some areas have cuts more frequently. For us this is just an inconvenience. These are the hottest months of the year, with temperatures easily reaching well over 100F, and obviously the power cuts occur at times where air-conditioning is most in demand. Business are also affected as the power cuts are unpredictable and half way through their day they are rendered useless, as so much of what we do is dependent on electricity. Not to mention what this is doing to the economy, which up until this point was doing relatively ok all things considered. For the families that lost loved ones or have had people injured, the power cuts are a reminder of what took place a week ago, and the stupidity of the people who placed these 98 containers right next to the biggest power station and the naval base, and left them unprotected in the smoldering heat for 3 years!

Every night there are protests at the presidential palace asking for the president and his ministers to resign. For the most part these are happening peacefully, but every now and again some asshole ruins it for the rest by throwing stones at police or setting trash cans on fire.

Here are some pictures of the area before the accident:

And after the accident...

The area marked with the white square is where most of the damage is. The charcoal colored mark in the left half of the square is where the containers were and now is a 160 foot deep crater. 

For the meantime we are trying to stay cool without using airconditioning and are waiting it out to see what happens. Luckily we are going on vacation soon and will be out of this heat and in a place with electricity! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Thank You Nadal

Why, might you ask, am I thanking Rafael Nadal? Well, because of this...

Steak Diane

King prawns and crab

Rib eye with twice baked potato and spinach

So the hubs, my sister, and I all had a bet on who was going to win the French Open final, Nadal or Federer. Mr. Milk went out on a limb and bet for Federer while my sister and I played it safe and went for Nadal. The bet? The loser prepares dinner. But this was too much work for Mr. Milk, so he decided that if he lost, he would take us out. Taking advantage of his vulnerable position, we opted for a classy steak house! Initially we were joking about the location, but since Mr. Milk is a bigger steak fan than my sister and I put together (yes she had prawns and crab!) he started to enjoy the fact that he was losing! So after a little debate on how we should just go somewhere more casual and cheaper, we ended up here...

Columbia Steak House

Very nice restaurant and very, very good food! Even my sister who didn't initially want steak ended up finishing off mine! We toasted Nadal over and over :)

Remnants of dessert! Key lime pie and chocolate volcano!

We had intended of getting before pictures too, but once they came we all dived in! Needless to say we debated getting dessert initially and some of us played hard to get (Mr. Milk!)!

Monday, May 30, 2011

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Trying To Go Meatless

In an attempt to be more informed consumers and more conscious about the things that come into our home, Mr. Milk and I have decided to limit our meat/poultry consumption to at most twice a week, including weekends. I've always tried to buy locally grown produce (and with the sun out 80% of the year, we really have no excuse not to have local produce!) but we haven't always paid as much attention to the meat/poultry that we buy. So I've committed to buy only free range eggs, and I'm always looking for free range chicken, which isn't as readily available. Luckily we aren't big meat eaters, and living on island gives us the opportunity to have fresh fish more than average, but even this requires more effort, meaning going to the fish market instead of buying it conveniently from the grocery store. 

So this meat-only-twice-a-week business is trickier than what I thought it would be! It's not always easy to find alternatives and it's sooo easy to to turn to sweets and carbs when you want a snack! A well stocked fridge and pantry are in order if we are to avoid snacking on choc-chip cookies and having pasta for dinner every night! And like any habit changing attempt, it's easy to forget and go about your business as usual. For example, the other day I went out to grab a sandwich for lunch while doing a grocery run. Even though I filled the cart up with fruits, vegetables, legumes, and beans, I just as easily picked up a chicken avocado sandwich! Not until I had taken the first bite had I realized what I'd done. While telling Mr. Milk this later in the day, he quite arrogantly pointed out that even though he had the option of putting chicken on his salad at lunch, he hadn't. Only to later realize that he had added ham to make it a "more balanced meal!" :)

So needless to say we both need to work on this before it becomes second nature, but in the meantime, I am discovering new dishes to make that will satisfy us and help us not miss chicken and meat! 

Like this pizza! With roasted eggplant, onions, pesto, and ricotta cheese :) Of course if you ladies have any favorite veggie recipes, please feel free to share! We can use all the help we can get! 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Summer Is Just Around The Corner!

As the weather gets better, Mr. Milk and I are reminded of why we decided to move back home in the first place. The sun is out and the temperature is going up and we can spend so much more time outdoors. We've uncovered our patio furniture and I just spent this morning working from my balcony!

I love this season as there are so many fresh fruits and vegetables around that cooking and grilling have become fun again! We are spending more time with friends and have even taken up jogging (we'll see how long this one lasts!). Best of all? My summer clothes! Oh how I have missed those! And soon enough we'll be able to laze on the beach or by a pool somewhere and get some color!

Do you guys enjoy the summer season? What's your favorite part?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Off To England

Mr. Milk and I are taking off to Manchester, England for the weekend! Why you might ask? Because this lovely couple is getting married!

Neither Mr. Milk nor I have been to a full English wedding before so we are very excited about this trip. C and G we wish you all the best! Enjoy your special day and thanks for letting us share it with you.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Party To Remember: Next Day Location Shoot (Part 4)

Ok ladies, this is it. I have (finally) come to the end of the wedding recaps! OMG it took forever! Thanks to all of you who stuck around! I know I haven't been the best blogger these last few months, but life has taken over so much that the blog had to be put on the back burner. 

While I'm sad that the wedding part is over (after all, that's why I began this blog and got to "meet" all of you) I am excited to have the freedom of blogging about whats going on in our lives. Just to give you a bit of info about what's been going on in the Chocolate Milk household, we've been house hunting, I have started my own business, and we've even been on a few trips! But before I get to all of that, let me share my last wedding recap post.

So our final location was the salt lake right next to the airport. The timing was perfect because the sun was starting to set as we got there. Our photog was able to capture some beautiful shoots. Take a look for yourselves...

So after a second long day of wearing the dress, it's fair to say that I started getting a little fed up of lugging it around. And just as I was kicking it up, our photographer decided it was a good time to become trigger happy! Mr. Milk and I are both walking towards the salt lake, not realizing that we were being photographed. All of a sudden our photographer bursts out laughing and wouldn't tell us why. Now I know! :)

Doesn't the salt look a little like snow?

He lay down flat on the ground in the damp salt to get this shot! 


Mr. Milk having a revelation about what he got himself into the night before :)

Last pic of the day

Click to enlarge this one! A bunch of shots of us goofing around :)

Up next: Life!

I also just wanted to take a moment to thank you all for following this super important journey of ours. I have loved every minute of planning this wedding, and while plenty of things went wrong on the day, none of those really affected the outcome or memories of our day, so I've chosen to focus on the thousands of things that went right and I want to cherish. I've loved following your journeys and will continue to do so as we all embark on the next chapters of our lives.