New year, (not so) new resolutions

It’s the time of year again that sees the inception of countless romantic fantasies; while some might imagine themselves becoming the healthiest and most productive they have ever been (looking back on all those indulgences that started sometime in February in joyful anticipation of the holiday season), the duck and I prefer to be a bit less ambitious.2022 resolution duckAfter our uncannily prescient 2020 resolutions turned out to be a great success, we decided to (yet again) build our 2022 resolutions on the ones we shared on here two years ago: Continue reading


A duck in January

When 2021 was still relatively fresh, the duck and I wrote about our winter walks that, ideally with a podcast on our ears, were a welcome change to spending too much time indoors where it is warm and cozy. While we have spent more voluntary time outside this year than we had in years, the duck and I have also become more creatively sluggish in the past few months. This is why we decided to end this year with a photo from the beginning:January duckIt didn’t make the cut last January, but now that 2021 is coming to an end, the duck and I have come to appreciate this picture as it reminds us of how we were wondering what this new year would bring. It didn’t turn out the way we had hoped (does it ever?), but it still managed to pleasantly surprise us sometimes. I wonder what the next year will be like…
Hopefully, the terrible*, sporadic** New Year’s neighborhood fireworks will magically inspire us? Wish us luck!

In return, we wish you, dear reader, a happy, healthy, and not-too-cold (or hot, depending on where you are) new year!

*We’re firework snobs (more on that next year, maybe?).
**Due to the pandemic, stores are banned from selling fireworks. So, it’s very likely that only a few leftover ones will be set off this New Year’s Eve.

2020 resolutions revisited

Last year, when the duck and I were optimistic and oh-so naive, we decided to share our very achievable New Year’s resolutions. Little did we know that not achieving them in 2020 would have been virtually impossible. Let’s have a look at them, shall we?
2021 duck#1: We will NOT get a gym membership. – We didn’t. And that was good considering that public gyms closed down twice last year, and it’s still  undetermined when they will reopen. Maybe we should try to take up running/speed-waddling, though, because I wouldn’t be surprised if 2021 turned out to be the year of the zombie apocalypse. Knowing us, we’ll probably fail, though, like all those other times we tried.
#2: We will keep being stingy. – Apart from a few moments of weakness (for our cheap standards – others might call it regular spending), the duck and I remained as stingy as we’ve always been. With restaurants being closed for a while and us mostly too worried to visit them anyway, we probably spent less money on food than we did in years. We also ate more barely edible food than we have in years.
#3: We will read at least ten books. – We did! In addition to reading Miss Dalloway in a day, we also got to finish several books that our lovely friends had recommended and/or gifted us. In 2020 we bought/received almost as many books as we managed to read so that the amount of books-to-be-read in our bookcase has barely changed. But that gives us plenty more adventures-to-be-had!
#4: We will be true to ourselves. – By that I meant that we would give in to our laziness. And that we definitely did. We did have a few busy months in 2020, but we made sure to sleep a lot during the less busy ones to make up for all that lost laziness.
Weirdly, the duck and I did manage to keep up a somewhat regular posting schedule. I guess there still is a way to increase our laziness. But we might want to save that for another year (or not – we’ll see).

That shall be all for today. Let’s hope that sticking to our resolutions in 2021 will be more challenging than in 2020…
Do you have any new New Year’s resolutions? In any case, the duck and I want to wish you a happy and healthy 2021!

2020 Resolutions

It’s 2020! Wow! I hope that you got to celebrate the start of a new decade adequately. The duck and I did, with Netflix and some fried tofu we made (that tasted surprisingly decent for once). These first few days of January are usually the time everyone writes down their New Year’s resolutions. To be honest, I’m not a fan of those. That probably has to do with my being overly ambitions when I was younger and didn’t know the duck yet: learn the piano, master Russian, become an Olympic fencer, read 10 books, eliminate world hunger. At that time that seemed totally feasible. A few months in, however, I had to realize that there’s no way I can master a language that I barely speak and that in order to learn an instrument or become a top (or even decent) athlete, I would have to practice pretty much day and night. I was lazy back then, like the duck and I are now. That is why, instead of coming up with an extensive list of ridiculous New Year’s resolutions, the duck and I decided that:
1: We will NOT get a gym membership (very doable)
2: We will keep being stingy (it’s fun, you guys!)
3: We will read 10 books (at least. This is the one realistic resolution we had in the past)
4: We will be true to ourselves. This is the resolution we already started to implement last month when we changed the tagline of this blog from ‘Adventures of the traveling duck’ to ‘Adventures of the lazy duck’. We just had to put an end to this false advertising.

Lazy duck

The duck and I are positive that, this year, we will be able to stick to our resolutions! Since being lazy also means that we shouldn’t write so much so early in the year (and also not in the first week of the year, never in the first week!), the duck and I have decided to continue this post some other time.

We wish you all a great and healthy new year!

Snacks: (Baked) mame mochi

This time the duck and I taste tested yet another ricey snack: mame mochi.
We’d seen them at grocery stores a couple of times and had considered trying them, but as the new year had started, they were everywhere – so we knew that we just had to buy a pack! Do you remember our black bean senbei taste test?
These mame mochi remind of our beloved black bean senbei in a lot of ways, but there is one major difference: even though they look similar – in texture, not necessarily in shape (at least to our untrained Western eyes) – mame mochi fall under the category of okaki rather than senbei.Mame duck
‘What’s the difference?’, you may ask yourselves; well, while senbei are made of (plain old) rice, okaki are made of glutinous rice, hence the name mochi (= Japanese rice cakes).
Mochi are a popular New Year’s food (in December and January you can find big packs of mochi on the special offer shelves of almost every grocery store); it is not uncommon to have mochi pounding events just before the new year starts!
Because preparing mochi by hand is such a labor intensive task, the enthusiastic mochi pounders usually make more mochi than they can eat, so that many centuries ago, some clever people decided to extend the life span of the left over mochi they had extensively beat by drying and baking it, turning the sticky rice cakes into okaki. I guess that is why the duck and I had only seen these crackers on occasion until, finally, in January we couldn’t not see them!
Anyway, after going on and on about what we understand those snacks to be and how we try to make sense of them, here is our taste test of mame mochi (we hope that’s the right name as mame mochi usually come in sticky, unbaked rice cake form, if you trust the English image search results) that we had waited all or lives for: Continue reading