Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Old woman and "ushtiptsee"

IntroductionUštipci (pronounced "ushtiptsee") are doughnut-like fried dough balls popular in Bosnia and HerzegovinaCroatiaMacedonia and Serbia. For a recipe, check http://www.serbiancookbook.com/food-recipes/fast-breakfast/fried-dough-ustipci/. There is a saying in Serbian: "K'o o cemu, baba o ustipcima". It basically has the same use as Cato the Elder's famous phrase "Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam". In other words, no matter what the conversation is about, old woman/grandmother (or "baba") will revert to talking about "ushtiptsee", because it is something she knows about and something that is important to her, something that makes her happy.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, but last night I didn't feel very grateful. For the second night in a row, my baby kept me awake for over an hour on top of me coming back from work around 10 pm and finding my other three kids still awake next to their sleeping dad. The best way to get you to understand my state of mind, I will admit that, at one point early this morning, I was contemplating on how having four kids might be a tad too much to deal with so I should start giving them away as Christmas presents one by one until I hit the quantity I can comfortably deal with. Right after I realised that probably wouldn't fly with unwilling recipients of the said presents, I briefly contemplated suicide by diabetes induced by stuffing myself at once with all the Halloween sweets children didn't eat yet (we still have 3 full bags left), but then I realized that is more likely to put me in a coma than to death. *Sigh* I'll never become a criminal mastermind... That's when God sent me an angel to sit with me and hold my hand until I went from stupid-for-a-reason to it's-not-as-bad-as-it-seems.


And so with baby finally asleep and me finally wide awake at 3:30 this morning, my mind wandered to some happier, more hopeful thoughts. I started counting my "ushtiptsee".



  • One of them actually happened a week and a half ago: I personally met John Connolly! If you do not know who this amazing writer is, start reading his books this instant! I was so filled with happy buzz after meeting him, talking to him, that I couldn't shake the giddiness off for days (not that I wanted to, either). Still, every time I think about it or listen to the CD he made for those of us who came to his book promotion, I smile with exultation.
  • Next, my baby boy's first birthday is coming up! Oh, the joy of watching the progress this little guy has made in such a short time! Oh, the joy of seeing him walk, and climb, and sing, and ride scooter with his sister! Oh, the joy of getting rid of baby formula and bottles!
  • The third installment of "The Hobbit"! Need I say more? I hope Peter Jackson continues the Tolkien streek. There is still "The Children Of Hurin" to put to screen!
  • The annual sources of joy, family reunion and broken bank: new calendar Christmas, New Year, old calendar Christmas and Serbian New Year! All happily situated in the space of 3 weeks. And to ensure I sleep even less, our household will contain 9 people during that time. Well, "contain" may not be the right word...
  • BBC is coming out with another masterpiece, the adaptation of Susanna Clarke's "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell". Now this one is a tricky one, like freshly fried "ushtiptsee" that are just too hot to eat. "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell" is an exceptional piece of writing, and the book is masterfully read by the legendary Simon Prebble. His interpretation of the book is so well done that I am afraid to watch anybody else interpreting the characters from the book. But then again, I was afraid to watch anybody else play Sherlock Holmes after Jeremy Brett, and look at the marvel of Benedict Cumberbatch's! We'll see...
  • And then, right on the verge of spring, my beautiful daughters, my brightest stars, will have their birthdays two days apart! I dread to think what they'll ask for this time, but I know that, no matter how much I protest, I will probably do as they ask just to revel in their happiness.
So... After all, I have a heartful of blessings to be thankful about :)

PS Just in case you were wondering whether I am referring to myself as an "old woman" in the title of this post, let me tell you that that depends on the day of the week. If you ask me on Monday - after I had time to catch up on sleep, food and regular use of the bathroom - if I feel old, I would reply: "Certainly not! I am in my prime!" But if you ask me on Friday - after I've been steamrolled by day-to-day life for four days - I would reply: "I see dead people!"


Me and Mr. Connolly :)

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