Saturday, May 25, 2013

belated quick takes

- 1 -

This week I didn't write any quick takes ahead of time. I also just spent 24 hours not opening my computer. Super crazy, but awfully nice.

- 2 -

Now I am in Colorado. We arrived in time for a tasty breakfast yesterday from this hipster place.

- 3 -

Contra dancing 'at altitude' is super intense. Doing a hambo when you haven't acclimated to this altitude is sort of insane. Greg and I had probably one of our best hambos ever, but it totally wiped me out.


I stole this photo from Malory. I'm in there. Where's Waldo? Can you see me?

- 4 -

Malory is a super great host and made us a delicious dinner. Her two dogs are not super great hosts though. Apparently they just don't like it when two strangers come into their home and expect to be friends? Wallace was easy enough to win over. Play with him for two seconds, and he is convinced you are on his side.

Argyle is a different story. I just woke up, but he hasn't seen me yet. I'm pretty sure he will bark at me for five minutes because he's forgotten that there were other people in his house.

In all fairness, Greg managed to make friends with Argyle. But I'm sure he will get barked at when he is first spotted this morning as well.

- 5 -

Today is cake baking day! Malory is making Alli's wedding cakes and they are going to be amazing!

- 6 -

Sodium lauryl sulfate strikes again!

Seriously, I need to get this stuff out of my life. Ruining my orange juice!

- 7 -

I haven't been doing a lot of reading lately (aside from work-related reading, that is). I've slowly but surely gotten myself into Walden, and I'm convinced there is no better book to read while trying to make decisions about what 'stuff' that has been sitting in your apartment, unused for nine months, is really worth keeping. I've donated tons of clothing to the thrift store, and I don't think I'm finished yet.

We do have plenty of things that we will need to put in storage, but I'm doing the best I can to minimize it. Not bad, not bad.

----- The End -----

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday's seven - back in the US version

- 1 -

Public transportation!

I lived in the Upper Valley of NH/VT for six years and never once road on the FREE buses. Living in Sweden for nine months, and adapting to a life of frequent public transportation utilization, I can now proudly say that I took the FREE bus. Granted, here the routes and timetables are extremely limited compared to Sweden, so it would be very difficult to fully depend on the free buses, but I'm still glad I was able to try it out at least once.

- 2 -

And then I drove a car! For the first time in about nine months. I felt really low to the ground?

- 3 -

My husband got his PhD!

 photo MG10-1.jpg
both doctors, nbd

Maybe you are thinking I am a horrible wife for making this third on the list, but let me present you with evidence to the contrary.

In the department there has been a bit of a tradition of writing limericks for the newest PhD. Here is the gem I composed for my husband (just keep in mind that I am NOT a poet and I had to google how to write a limerick, because I can never remember the form, and I still might have gotten it wrong):

There once was a man with his beard so exquisite,
Who with stellar models made a really good fit.
When he's not between the pipes,
at his computer he types.
Which his advisor prefers? We'll never know it!

I got bonus points (gave myself bonus points?) for throwing some hockey lingo in there.

- 4 -

Speaking of hockey!

Such an exciting game! I love how they are all hopping at the end. "Look at the jubilation!"

- 5 -

Speaking of athletes!

Last Saturday I got to go contra dancing! I even called a dance and also taught a Swedish folk dance. Lots of fun for me, despite being super tired and jet-lagged.

- 6 -

On Tuesday I stopped by the letterpress studio to check out Julie's impressive creation. Also, lucky for me, Bob was there, so we got to chat for quite awhile. Bob taught me everything I know about letterpress printing, and he is just one of those people I really like. He always prints his own 'Christmas card' each year, which is really a multiple page booklet which would take someone like me five years to complete. He said he would have sent me one but didn't have my address in Sweden, so I made sure to leave it for him for next Christmas;)

- 7 -

I've been doing a really good job of eating the foods on my list, plus more! Taza chocolate (thanks to Julie and Dave), maple cream soda, delicious Indian food... and on and on! So much deliciousness. At dinner the other night, one of the Dartmouth professors who had previously been doing a post-doc in England was talking about how every single place you live will leave you wanting foods you love but can't find in the new place. So, for example, when/if Greg and I leave Sweden, there will be foods that we miss from there. Already true for julmust and glögg, and I'm sure there are plenty of others that I don't even realize yet. At least I can always get myself to an Ikea cafe to get my fill of princess cake!

--------- The End ---------

As always, Jen has more!

Monday, May 13, 2013

spaghetti squash

It has been almost a year since I heard of and first ate spaghetti squash. A squash that acts like spaghetti noodles! What a strange and mysterious food!

In Sweden I am always checking the different stores to see if one will appear. Sometimes I think I spot one, but then it is just a melon that is exactly the same shape, size, and color as the spaghetti squash. So now that I am back in the States, you better believe I bought myself one of those!

Dagens lunch (today's lunch):

Photo on 5-13-13 at 1.16 PM

Also, it seems that there are a few ways to cook a spaghetti squash. Partly for documentation, partly for my own purposes, this is what I did. Cut the squash in half. Removed seeds/goop. Placed in baking dish, with the cut side up. Put a bit of water into the squash. Baked at 375F for 30 minutes. Probably I could have baked it for 35 minutes instead, but I am pretty okay with the 'al dente' variety.

I mostly followed this recipe, but since I was putting spaghetti sauce on my spaghetti squash, I figured it wasn't necessary to put oil, salt, and pepper on the squash.

Super simple. Super delicious. Super healthful.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Excitement leading up to this moment!

- 1 -

Enjoy mix

You better believe I am enjoying my celebration of nuts and kernels. How could I not?

- 2 -

On this very day I am en route to the good ole U S of A. This will be my second time back since I moved to Sweden. Before my first trip back I had compiled a list of the foods I would eat while there. The tragic part is that I forgot my list, and I only managed to remember a small portion of the foods.

- 3 -

corned beef hash, maple sausages, good cheese, good yoghurt, butter-lover's popcorn, buffalo chicken wrap from boloco, oatmeal squares, caterpillar roll, salted caramel gelato, buffalo wings from Bentley's (except that they closed down the week before I went there!), gas station eclairs, gas station chinese (different gas station than the one that has the greatest eclairs ever), cran-apple crunch muffin

- 4 -

Another thing that just deserves its own take is s'mores. Sweden does not have graham crackers. They do have marshmallows in the American part of the foreign food aisle. But no graham crackers!

Luckily, my friend who is getting married while I am in the States has a bit of a camping/outdoorsy theme going on, and you better believe there will be s'mores at the wedding. Brilliant!

- 5 -

In keeping with the theme of yesterday's post, in which I got more serious than usual on the topic of creative endeavors, I plan to do as much contra dancing as possible while I am in the states. Greg will only know this if he reads my blog very carefully, but I really hope he is on board. On Saturday I am going to do a bit of calling and even teach one of the more simple Swedish folk dances. The band learned a special tune for it and everything, which makes me really happy!

- 6 -

And I get back to Sweden in time for Ransäter. Boy oh boy am I excited. There are a lot of summer dance festivals (or so I am told) but this is the major one. There is dancing all night long until 7am. And since we are in Sweden and it will be June, the nighttime will never get darker than a nice twilight. Should be something!

- 7 -

The last time I went camping I remember that it rained the whole time, and also Greg and I had this milk that didn't require refrigeration? Oh look I even blogged about it. Complete with photo documentation!

- 7.5 -

I meant to write that I saw a wild hedgehog in my backyard the other night! Proof that Sweden loves me!

- The End - 

And as always, I'm linking up with Jen and friends for Seven Quick Takes Friday!

creative endeavor

I was surprised to see that it has been over a year since I wrote this post with the quote from Ira Glass about being a beginner at a creative endeavor and working through that. He talks about writing; I think in terms of calling contra dances.

Then more recently I saw this great quote about being a writer, which I'd also like to think applies to calling contra dances.

“If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), "Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?" chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”
― Steven PressfieldThe War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles

When you just start calling, it will never be perfect, no matter how well-prepared you might feel. The thing is, it doesn't have to be perfect for people to have a really enjoyable dance. I kept having thoughts of, "Others can already do this so well, so why should I submit dancers to calling that is less than that level?" I had the experience of going to a dance with less-than-perfect calling (far less, if we want to be totally honest), but everyone was still having an amazingly good time. Somehow that really inspired me to just go for it. I knew that I could do at least that well with my calling, and probably even a bit better.

I talked with my folk dance instructor. Asked her if she thought I could call a couple dances. She sounded interested and a couple weeks ago in class we danced three contra dances. It has been a long time since I've done any calling, but I love it so much that I am doing this! Partly I am scared to death, but partly I am kind of just done hiding behind that as an excuse to not do it.

So that is that, and here's to hoping for many more!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The quick takes that took two weeks

- 1 -

What's worse? The fact that Taylor Swift is being played extremely loudly outside, or the fact that I knew it was a Taylor Swift song?

- 2 -

Sweden store-brand mouthwash is strong and really quite awful. Now I have a full bottle though, so you better believe I'll use it until it is gone before I buy a new kind (hopefully a bigger store will even have a different kind).

- 3 -

All that is to say that I passed my dental exam! No cavities (after not seeing a dentist for a really really long time). I did get a small scolding to start using mouthwash though.

- 4 -

I wrote those first three 'takes' last Friday, but then I was stuck and just couldn't come up with four others. I always have good intentions with my quick taking, but then my Fridays get busy or stressful and the taking goes to the back burner. So here we are on Saturday already.

- 5 -

This week was Valborg, aka Walpurgis Night. Swedes love this holiday. There is a race of rafts down the river. I went to watch but didn't bring my camera. Luckily there was this photo posted on flickr of my favorite raft: a little basket with buns! So cute!

Pink raft

- 6 -

This morning I made my coffee, but realized I had no milk. I am not the type of person that will drink black coffee. So I just walked myself over to the little store nearby and bought some milk. So convenient! My coffee was still hot when I returned!

- 7 -

I also bought a powerade. Because tonight there is a folk dance, and folk dancing is a seriously athletic endeavor, as we've already established.


And as always, I'm linking up with Jen and the others!