Friday, September 27, 2013

7QT - food things

- 1 -

Apparently grape seed oil is a new popular thing? I've read about it in at least two places in just the past week, after never hearing about it before. That is, after never hearing about it in English before. You see, here in Sweden, when I wanted to buy something like vegetable oil or canola oil, I ended up with rapseed oil. I didn't even know what it was when I was buying it, but this was when I used the method of buying the item that was available in the largest quantity, because that meant it was reasonable to think many people used said item. This technique worked particularly well when I wanted to buy flour, just plain regular white flour, and I encountered at least a dozen different options.

- 2 -

Come to think of it, I find that things in Sweden work like that most of the time. There is very little variety of items due to personal preference it seems. Usually there is just one of a thing available. I think that says something about Swedes being practical maybe? So like, here is a baking soda, it is the best one, everyone knows that, everyone buys the same one, so places only sell the one option. Also, for example, the same candle holder lantern thingy that is a decoration in my apartment was also a decoration at the little snack shop in the airport. True story.

- 3 -

And you can easily figure out where Swedes have strong and differing opinions based on what items come with a lot of variety. Knäckebröd (a sort of cracker thing) and cheese in tubes fall into this category.

- 4 -

Two weeks ago was Culture Night in Uppsala. Culture Night is a full day of activities showcasing culture all throughout the town. Tons of people roam the streets and there is street food. Greg and I saw an a capella group consisting of four young men who sang a medley of Backstreet Boys songs. It was spectacular.

- 5 -

A little while ago Greg made a comment about earl grey tea smelling like fruit loops. I thought it was madness, but well, it really sort of does. Now when I have a cup of the earl, my entire tea-drinking experience is something different and a bit strange.

- 6 -

We tried our beer and it is yummy! It is still a bit 'green' as in, not quite at its prime, flavor-wise. The banana flavor is mellowing out, which I appreciate. I think I wrote before that when we bottled it, we tasted it and the overwhelming flavor was banana.

We were going to start our next batch tomorrow, but we didn't order ingredients/supplies in time, so it will have to wait a week. It is time to brew a Christmas beer! I found this recipe for an award-winner called Bad Santa that is made with cherries and vanilla and cinnamon!

- 7 -

And since I wouldn't want any 'quick take' to exclude the topic of food, we found a cooking pumpkin! In a grocery store near our apartment! Last year we had a really hard time finding pumpkin, which is a big deal since you can't buy canned pumpkin. Or at least, it was a big deal last year when we thought we could not buy canned pumpkin. But we found this cafe that is run by an American and he sells poptarts and canned pumpkin.

- The End and The Linkup -

Monday, September 23, 2013

Second round of photos from France

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Here are the last of the photos from Biarritz. I posted some yesterday here.

On one afternoon there were excursions as part of Greg's conference, so we joined the wine tour excursion. It pretty much involved being on a bus for almost four hours... Aside from that, it was lovely! The last photo shows my favorite part of the train ride between Paris and Biarritz - fields upon fields of sunflowers! There were more fields of sunflowers than I ever imagined possible on one train ride!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

France photos, finally!

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Here are some photos I took while we were in Biarritz. It was a really lovely beach town. The photo with the surfer and the couple enjoying their seaside vacation perfectly sums up the odd juxtaposition of this city, in my opinion. Also, that place was selling sandwiches called 'Americans' which was a roll with two burger patties and fries (in the roll) plus your choice of sauce. We went back a few days later just to try them out, never having seen such a thing in America. Oh they were yummy.

I've got a few more photos that I'll post tomorrow too!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

7 Quick Takes: bicycles, beer, and dancing with Bill Nye version

- 1 -

I saw a game of Segway Polo in action the other day. That's right. Who needs a horse when you've got a segway. And if you were thinking, 'What other crazy things do people do with segways?' here is a short list.

- 2 -

Did you know there was such a thing as dining in the dark? I was just told about a restaurant in Paris where all of the waiters are blind, and the dining room is completely dark. Apparently one of these restaurants exists in San Francisco also, and I laughed so hard reading about a review that said a person lost a piece of food on the table and had to spend a really long time finding it.

- 3 -

Our bicycles are in working order as of writing this! Last weekend Greg and I decided it was time to fix those bicycles right up. We each worked on our own, and we managed to fully change a tire each in about one hour. (I am really happy about that time, plus it was the first time I fully changed a tire on my own with no help.) My tire wasn't technically flat, but it had this hole where the tube was bubbling up and sort of pushing through. So I decided preventative action was necessary, and I changed the tire so that I would be able to save the tube.

- 4 -

I love it so much that Bill Nye is on Dancing with the Stars. So much! It bothers me that there doesn't seem to be a clear explanation of what percentage of the final standings is due to the judges and what is due to the peoples' votes, but I just had to vote anyway.

What a great person though. I think at one point he says something like, "Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn sometimes." That it does, Bill.

- 5 -

The evening after writing number 3 up there I had my handlebars come loose while rounding a turn on my bicycle. I've always had issues with my handlebars being a bit wobbly or turned crooked, so I am often tightening and adjusting. Well I didn't do a very good job I guess. Somehow I managed to get enough control of my front wheel to not slam right into the curb at a speed at which one would not want to be slamming into a curb. Kind of terrifying.

- 6 -

Maybe I've written about Humans of New York before. I really like it a lot. Maybe I've even linked to this exact post before, but I just like it so much. Such incredibly practical advice.

- 7 -

Greg has been in Belgium this past week. He returns home this evening, and I'm pretty sure the first taste test of our beer is going to happen. Hopefully it is delicious. When we were bottling it, I thought it had a very strong banana flavor and considering I do not really like bananas, I did not consider this to be a good thing. So here's to hoping that flavor mellowed out.

- The End and The Linkup -

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Transportation breakdown

That's right. The bicycles, the bus system.

The first to go was my back bicycle tire at the end of July. Luckily, I was able to repair it with a little help. The second to go was my back bicycle tire. Again. That happened on the 15th of August, which was too close to the first flat to be fair. And due to various reasons it didn't get repaired until last Sunday. And you know what happened on Monday on the drive home from the office? Greg's back bicycle tired blew out. It was a big pop and everything. We had to replace the whole tire (not just the tube) due to a large hole. The sad part is, I can tell my back tire is about to go again. A bubble is forming on the side, where the tire was a bit compromised and the tube is pushing out. It is only a matter of time. The bike shop people are making a killing on us. Although, we have only been buying parts and doing the repairs ourselves. But I'm pretty sure I'll be in there again soon buying myself a tire.

Oh. And the buses, well they got a new card system. No one told me though. I mean, I did see signs saying that there was a new card which combined the bus cards with the train cards, but I didn't realize that meant my old card would no longer be valid. My ignorance got me a free bus ride accompanied by a large amount of guilt for not paying attention and being on top of the game. At least we managed to sort out this issue by waiting in line for a half hour to get our cards changed over yesterday. yay.

Friday, September 6, 2013

7QT - no photos again, but a great birthday surprise!

- 1 -

I just read the greatest news ever! Blessed John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII are (mostly likely) going to be canonized on my birthday!!

- 2 -

We've been back from France for almost a week now. Hopefully I'll get some photos posted at some point, because Biarritz is really an incredibly beautiful place. Aside from getting sick (and getting the worst ear aches in the world on the plane home) it was a really nice trip.

- 3 -

Swedish. It is a language I do not know enough of, considering I live in Sweden. Especially considering there are free classes for immigrants offered. The problem is that most immigrants coming to Sweden and taking the free classes are (apparently?) the type of people who benefit from their language teacher shouting at them about how they need to not focus on the money and how without Swedish they can't get education or a job. Never before have I had such a strong urge to flaunt my phd to anyone.

(Don't worry, this Swedish teacher is not actually from Sweden, so my love of Swedes/Swedish culture/Swedish ways of treating people, all still remain intact.)

- 4 -

Our beer is fermented. We need to get on that whole bottling of the beer thing.

- 5 -

The water out of our kitchen sink can get incredibly hot. Honestly, I've used it for tea before (although, it isn't quite as hot as I'd normally prefer the starting temperature for my tea). For awhile, I had been having hot water with lemon right when I wake up in the morning. Somehow I forgot about that routine, even though it was so easy since I could just use water straight out of the tap, but this morning I returned to it, and I really enjoyed that.

- 6 -

I am also overdue on photos from when my mom and her husband visited me and Greg in Sweden. I think I took a lot of photos of our grand adventures, but I haven't yet had a chance to review the photos. But hopefully those will make their way here eventually.

- 7 -

There is a surprisingly detailed and useful Swedish grammar wikipedia page. This was found after trying to figure out what the 'supine' verb form is. My extensive online research has further confirmed that I need to no longer go to my current Swedish class.

- The End and The Linkup -