Friday, December 31

New Year's Eve

This is what happens when I hang out with my 17-year-old best friend/little sister. I dress up in sequins, purple velvet shoes, piles of eyeliner, even JEGGINGS for crying out loud. She, on the other hand, is pretty much unwavering from usual Off-the-Hook Kelsey Style.

Then she drives off to do God-knows-what and I head out the door to drink in front of my in-laws.

On that note, Happy New Year! Have a blast and please drive safely.

I love my red-headed little firecracker.

Thursday, December 30


Yesterday, we woke up at Jason's parents' house. When they left for work, we drove to my dad's house. We hung out with him & my sister until he left for work. We picked up my mom from her apartment to go watch a movie. We ended up back at Jason's parents' house, ate dinner, then drove back to my dad's house when he got home from work at midnight. We chatted for an hour, then passed out for the night. Jason calculated that we spent two hours in the car that day.

It was a different day than I'm used to. But it was a good day, and the two hours were totally worth it.

It's strange to watch your parents heal from heartbreak. I've always been the "fixer" in our family, but I've learned over the past few years that this one is something I shouldn't--something I really can't-- fix. Letting go of this has been a roller coaster.

Most of the time, I feel relief. Occasionally, I've felt like an angsty teenager who wants to blast heavy metal (I do) and drive her car too fast (I don't). My little sister has been a role model for me; she rolls with the changes like a champ. Jason has also been amazing, as usual. He listens when I need to mourn, and cracks me up when I need to be happy.

In the past two weeks, I've made a lot of progress wrapping my head around my parents' separation. You might have noticed that it hasn't been too good for writing here-- when most of my thoughts had been occupied with other people's personal lives, I was kind of stuck not writing anything at all.

So why post this at all? It isn't a plea for pity; it isn't really even an apology for not writing much lately. I want to be honest and real with you guys. It feels wrong to only talk about the happy stuff.

So. I've been going through a bit of a tough time lately, but it's getting better.

Thursday, December 23


One crafty, neurotically obsessive (ehmm, let's say "passionate") recycler
+ one prolific paper-printing physics student
+ copious Christmas spirit
= ...


Jason made two. To him, this was a glorious opportunity to geek out on geometry, and he spent the whole time figuring out how to make six-point snowflakes. Needless to say, they took a little more time and care than the octagonal blizzard I was hacking away at.

He kept apologizing for his production rate, but I encouraged him to keep tinkering. The mad-scientist mumblings that went along with it were too entertaining to discourage.

J (to himself, confused): But they are 15° increments...
A:  Well that's good, right?
J:   Yes. Now I just need to figure out how to extract the hexagon out of them.

Ten minutes later...
J: ...huh. How did the hexagon get THERE?!

Thursday, December 16

Elevator Music

We have been sooo happily busy ever since we got home! I got to see my K's (Kelsey, Kody, Kanette, and Kristie), and my S's (Sam, Sammie, Scott) all within about four days. It's been fabulous. (Claire and Mama Bear were icing on the cake! ...Just not quite as conveniently alliterated.) The past few days have been such a whirlwind, we're only just starting to feel the jet lag now.
A happy reunion with the two K's who picked us up from the airport!

I do have a few posts brewing in the ol' brain, but until I 'wrap up' (HA. HA. HA.) all our late Christmas packages and cards, I'll leave you with this:


BOOM. Blown again.

I read this story right before we flew out of Sweden. Gulp. (5-minute read)

Crazy pancake talent.

It might be too late to order these, but why not make them at a nearby paint-your-own-pottery store?

One word: soulful.

Don't know what you want for Christmas? Consider asking friends & family to donate here instead.

This is atrociously, obnoxiously cute. We love it.

Saturday, December 11

Here's how NOT to combat jet-lag:

Write a blog post in a hysterically sleep-deprived state for all the world-wide-webbins to see.

Dear www,

It's me, again. Jason & I have had a long day. As in, literally, a 33-hour-long thanks to changing time zones. We stayed up packing & cleaning until 3AM, and woke up at 5AM to finish.

On our way out, we left Ruffles at the door of our helpful neighbor, with a note thanking him for being a friendly neighbor, and informing him that he should have a Merry Christmas, and of course, informing him of the plant's name. Fernadine, on the other hand, was given a solemn burial in the trash can (I told you, I have the Black Thumb of Death).

Checking in our luggage at the airport, they told us that we couldn't check three suitcases--only one suitcase per person! However, the typical loophole soon surfaced-- throw cash at them. $150, specifically. We agreed to pay the ransom for our poor suitcase, since there were probably more than $150 of clothes/books inside it. We went to a separate counter to pay the $150, where they suddenly declared that it was totally acceptable for us to check three bags. They said we didn't have to pay. Thank. Goodness.

We flew from Copenhagen to Frankfurt, Germany (I kept accidentally calling it Frankenfurter. Although, frankly, I like my version better.) ("Frankly." Get it? heh.) (Heh, heh.) (Heh. Might I remind you of the title of this post?) I LOVE the Frank(en)furt(er) airport. Old German men with Einstein moustaches pedal their luggage around on little rented bikes, and concession stands vend pretzels, sausages and beer. It's a circus, in the best stereotypically-German way possible.

Aaaand cue 11-hour transcontinental flight. It was fascinating to watch out the window as we chased the sunset westward across the globe. We passed time with Sudoku, movies, and laughing at each other for no reason other than sleeplessness (the best kind of laughing, don't you think?)

We were served strange German sandwiches towards the end of the flight, packaged together with potato chips and a Kit-Kat bar. That's a straight-up BUTTER SLAB sitting on that piece of bread there. Apparently the flight attendants had taken a liking to us over the 11 hours, because a steward returned back with a few extra Kit-Kat bars and a sly wink. Then he came back AGAIN, this time setting a complete package in front of Jason, silently pointing to the food, then to him, with a nod. We considered it atonement for the initial baggage battle in Denmark, happily stuffed the free food in our bags, and landed in San Francisco.

HOME TURF! As we waited for our luggage to circle by, a TSA employee led an adorably cheerful beagle around on a leash as he sniffed everyone's bags for contraband food (I think that I should clarify it was the dog doing the sniffing). They busted one befuddled German who had brought bananas into the States (God FORBID, I know.) The beagle approached our bags and I tried to reassure myself that we wouldn't get in trouble for the Friendly Flight Attendant Food Cache.

The little dog sniffed at our backpack. He took a step back, and tilted his head. After taking a few more cautious sniffs, he moved on. Apparently airplane meals don't quite register as food to his finely-tuned nose.

After re-checking our luggage, we happily hurried to our last connection: from San Franscisco to Home Sweet Home Eugene, Oregon!!!! At this point, we had stayed up until 3AM according to our Sveedish internal clocks and were really, really looking forward to sleeping in our own bed.

Alas, it was not meant to be. The plane is delayed from 7:30PM to 10:30PM, and here I am, wrapping up an absurdly long blog post in a frantic attempt to stay awake.


Thursday, December 9

Existential Crisis

Alright, amigos. Our time here in Sveeden has expired. For the past two weeks I've been wondering, what's going to happen to this blog?

I try to analyze my motivations for everything I do in life. My first reason for starting this little project was that I'm a giant creep and I LOVE reading other peoples' blogs (our future children's journals will never, ever be safe). I get so excited whenever I discover a friend of mine has started a blog-- so I thought I'd try to return the favor. (And if you're considering starting one, you know you'll have at least one steadfast stalker reader here!)

I can't say that writing this has been ALL selfless giving, though; getting comments and "followers" totally makes our day. If it weren't for you guys, this blog wouldn't have survived two weeks. I'm a sucker for extrinsic motivation.

This weakness of mine poses a problem-- one that seems common to many bloggers (and facebookers and twitterers). When I started this blog, I noticed that I was distracted from 'living in the moment.' My brain had developed a filter that filed daily moments into either 'blog-worthy,' or 'other people won't think that's interesting.' Over the weeks, the 'blogger-brain' has faded, but the posts have gotten a little more sparse as a result.

While we were here, my dear ol' Papa Bear sent us a boatload of tea (I promise this will be related), which had little quotes on each bag. One really clicked:

"Grief shared is half grief. Joy shared is double joy."


And for this reason, I'll keep writing here.  It might not be updated quite as frequently, but you'll definitely have least one or two posts per week.

STALK ON, amigos. You rock my socks off.

Wednesday, December 8

We cheated on Sweden

We went to Denmark last Sunday. Our first stop was the Danish National Art Museum:

Who knew Bob Dylan painted? While living in Brazil?? That wiley old rascal.

Aaand who knew we weren't supposed to take pictures of that exhibit? ...heh.

The bubbles were my favorite installation. There were tubes inflating these plastic bubbles with air, while other tubes watered the plants.
{click. those plants look way better zoomed-in.}

I'm sure there was some message about biospheres, microcosms, and the fragility of life, but they also just looked cool against the old brick building.

We also spent a while watching all the little Danes crashing their sleds in the park outside.

Next, we trekked across town to the National Historical Museum. We spent most of the time going through a series of displays about people of the Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age in Denmark.

Throughout all these ages, it seems, people in Scandinavia made sacrifices by sinking valuable belongings in peat bogs. Here's where I get all metaphysical on you: peat bogs just so happen to preserve stuff fantastically well (although they didn't know that at the time).

(Or they did incinerate stuff, and we don't know-- since it's incinerated.)
Fast forward a couple thousand years, and modern-day civilizations discover these prehistoric tribes' most valued possessions: sunken jewelry, intricately decorated swords & armor, viking ships, and even entire chariots from later ages. We study them, attribute them to specific tribes; even specific people; and eternalize them and their treasures inside museums for thousands of people to admire.

So-- DID the sacrifices work, sort of? Either way, I'm glad they chose plopping stuff into swamps rather than incinerating them in bonfires.

We found a hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant for dinner, where Jason learned to say, "Somos Americanos, pero aquí estamos en Dinamarca... en un restaurante Italiano... y hablamos Español."

Monday, December 6


I'd be a bad, bad blogger if I didn't share some Sveedish Snö pictures with you guys. (Yes, that's really how they say 'snow.' We saw it written in a snowdrift on one of our walks and I almost peed from excitement over the Nordic-ness of it all.) (No, it wasn't written with pee.) (Although making the 'ö' dots would have required some serious talent.) (Way to start off a blog post, April.)

Apparently, snow rarely sticks in Southern Sweden... so when it dumped powder for twelve days straight, HOLEEE SNOTSICLES. It thrilled our socks off.

I'm refraining from typing a ': )' as the caption for every single image below.
{click to zoooom}


Snow is one of my favorite foods. Seriously. It doesn't quite beat out peas or salsa, but it's up there. This has been limiting how long I stay outside because I CAN'T NOT EAT IT. I've been stuffing myself silly, and then running inside, shivering with bright red hands. It's worth it.

I just want to plop down on one of these benches and bury my face in the table.

Those of you who know Jason can imagine he's up to his ears in excitement over this wintry weather. When we're walking somewhere, about every ten minutes he'll kick up some powdery snow off the side of street, chuckling, "It's so FLUFFY!!" He says those exact three words, every time. (Alllllmost makes me want to move to Colorado, just so I can see this more often. Almost.)

Also: The cathedral produced some WICKED, SEVEN-FOOT ICICLES. There's warning tape strung up all around its perimeter to prevent human ice-kabobs.

Sunday, December 5

Crypts & Christmas Carols

We have only four days left in Sweden! It's making me feel very nostalgic about our stay here, so I feel like I owe 'our' little town of Lund some airtime. I was flipping through all the pictures we've taken, and one building showed up over & over.
(cheater alert! My camera couldn't 'zoom out' enough to capture the first picture, so I snagged it from here.)

(click to zoom)

Lund Cathedral is the oldest church in Sweden; built in 1100 AD! Even the Vikings were still around at that time, amigos. Although, it was at the very end of their era. (Huh, I wonder if those two things correspond.) (Turns out, they do. I looked it up.) (Can you imagine Vikings in church?!) (But... who else could have lifted all the huge stones to build it?) (GACK. Parenthetical thought overload.)

Jason & I had a good chuckle over how tiny its windows are. Even with eight foot thick walls, there were no windows wider than about one foot. In other words, they had zero faith in their engineering skills in 1100. And that's probably a good thing.

When you go inside, there's about as much light as you'd expect from 12-inch windows, but thanks to all the candles it smells like a giant birthday party. Nice planning, 1100 A.D. designers.

No ancient Cathedral would be complete without a crypt, and Lund Cathedral didn't disappoint. You can see Jason on the steps below, descending into its crypty depths... and check out the weird, sunken-eyes-in-the-back-of-its-head column guy! Fabulous.

Last Sunday, Jason & I went to a small party at his professor's house. He made us some hot "gluhwein," which is the German version of glögg!! (Exactly the same thing, only without any sugar added). Afterwards, we traveled through the snow to the cathedral and listened to the University choir sing Swedish Christmas carols. It was a very pleasant (if not slightly heretical) thing to do with a belly full of gluhwein. The hard stone walls gave their voices a beautiful echo, and when the organ chimed in for a few songs it just filled my soul right up. A lot of places in Europe have a 'timeless' feel to them, but for me, that night took the cake.

Thursday, December 2

Well. Embarrassing confession time.

Not that that seems to be the trend around here or anything.

Sometimes I walk around and look at tiny plants and imagine where I would like to hang out if I were a mouse.

This would totally be the party bush.

Better avoid this vicious thing, though.

You can picture the overactive-imagination explosion when I stumbled upon a greenhouse.

Mouse-me would totally rock these pink fairy feather boas. While lounging on the lily-pad. I would be a very fat mouse, if that helps your mental image.
That treehouse looks just the right size, too. And of course I would be super tight with the locals.

Wednesday, December 1

Living with a dude / It turns out I am a girl, after all

Normally I think "gender roles" are a pretty obnoxious concept-- but since we moved off to Sweden, I've had very little face-to-face contact with anyone except the mister. The past two months have forced me to acknowledge that I do, in fact, have a need for "girl-talk."* And it's been building for the past two months. I probably shouldn't blog in this state of mind... but I can't hold it in any longer.
Brace yourselves.

Usually, I'm as interested in my appearance as the next person-- a pretty major tomboy, but I still enjoy changing up how I look every now and then. (Okay, fine. Once a month.) (Okay, fine. I have a dark secret that I love doing people's hair, including my own.) (And makeup, yes. Hush. I'm trying to tell a story here.) Anyway, after about a month of living in Sweden, I started noticing that every single time I talked to my sister on Skype, I tried to start conversations about my hair.
GAWD. Dying this pixie-cut blond was a terrible idea. I can't wear anything green without feeling like Peter Pan. 
Look! I think my roots grew another eighth of an inch! That's how much google said they should grow every two weeks!
...etc. (I'm sorry to subject you to all that, but I needed to illustrate the extreme desperation of this situation)

All this drove my poor sister to secretly take screenshots and post them on facebook:

It's true. I looked like Little Baby Bieber.

I covered the bathroom floor in newspaper and busted out the extra-dark brown hair dye.

J:     (upon arriving home and looking in the bathroom) Why is there newspaper on the floor?
A:    (waiting for him to notice my snazzy new hair color) I made a mess.
J:     (looking around) Huh? I don't see anything.

...twenty seconds later...

A:   Okay, I'll just tell you... I did my hair! BUT LOOK! (proudly and excitedly pointing to my head) I left
       out some chunks. Cool, huh?
J:    What do you mean, you left some CHUNKS?! It doesn't look like you cut that much off...?!
A:    ...
        I didn't cut my hair.
J:     ... (looks confusedly at my head)
A:    Jason. I dyed it DARK BROWN.
J:    (gets shocked-and-slightly-ashamed look of realization, and quickly erupts in compliments)
A:    (cuteness of "shocked and slightly-ashamed look of realization" cracks me up as I hug him in 

If he doesn't notice THIS... then I doubt he notices bad-hair-days either. Sounds good to me.
Yeesh, look at that pose... maybe I am J. Biebs after all.

*The incredibly ironic thing about this whole post, and me calling it "girl talk,"  is the fact that my Dearest Papa Bear is the one who normally cuts my hair. Looking forward to another haircut when I get home, Dad : ) And yes, I'm going to yap your ears off the whole time.

Monday, November 29

National Hug a Stressed Architecture Student Day

Today is National Hug a Stressed Architecture Student Day! (Well, at least on Facebook.) While I'd love to come visit all my Arch. friends slaving away at their desks, with hugs and chocolate-covered espresso beans, I'm stuck here in Sveeeden and I'm going to have to settle for a virtual hug. I'll preface this post by insisting that not a single word of it is made-up, nor even exaggerated (anecdotes sampled from friends' and my own experiences).
Let me briefly explain the setting of Architectural Education, for those of you who aren't familiar. Within a towering campus building dedicated to Architorture (and sometimes Arts/Art History), there are classrooms called "design studios." In each studio, every student has their own desk where they store their supplies and work on their projects. Often, a decades-old, tear-stained couch is tucked in the corner to provide relief from our voluntary insomnia.

Since I graduated, I've been wondering what, exactly, makes architecture school so stressful. I've met Law School students who pity us, for goodness' sake. I think the stress comes from the personality traits that Arch. school attracts into its exacto-blade talons.

First of all, most of us are crazy, OCD perfectionists.* Second, we are viciously competitive (yet strain to not let this show). Third, we have Jack-of-all-trades, Renaissance-Man brains that yearn to perfectly integrate every last detail and function of the building we're designing (down to the drain spouts and sidewalk curbs. One sleepless night, I was moved to tears by my friend's perfect perspective-drawing of her gutter outlets. I am. NOT. kidding.)

Every term, you picture your finalized project as The Grandiose Production to End All Grandiose Productions. As the ten-week deadline looms closer, the time-intensive reality of eating, other classes, and personal hygiene slowly chip away at your dreams. You struggle to keep them afloat by sacrificing sleep and social interaction. Suddenly, you realize you've allotted yourself five weeks of work... for the last two weeks. At this point, most people would admit, "Wow, my over-achieving goals for this project were so naive. This happens every term; I guess I'll just have to take it down a giant notch."

Architecture slaves students buckle down and say, "I'm going to have to take this UP a giant notch."

Well, HELLO, little snuggle buddy.

"Taking it up a giant notch" denotes an even more depressing priority shift. You draw an hourly schedule for the next two weeks, penciling in an optimistic four hours of sleep per night. You calculate that going home is about a 30-minute round trip, which, if sacrificed, could add 12.5% to this nightly sleep quota. You sleep on the aforementioned couch (which, as you have just learned in your ECS** class, is now approximately 20% dust mites/dust mite feces by weight).

Later, you dash home to collect a few changes of clothes, and every can of food out of the cupboards (mostly corn). You forget your toothbrush. Your roommate graciously brings it on her way to class, where you instantly shove it into your plaque-overrun mouth, and make noises that cause your studiomates to poke their heads above their computer screens to investigate... ehmm... who's watching something they shouldn't be.

You take showers at the school gym. The whites of your eyes slowly, but surely, become the same shade as the rest of your face. Coffee becomes a strategically-administered design tool. You pass out in your seat mid-sentence, and start sleep-talking about Sketchup.*** You try to drive home with one of your studiomates, and BOTH of you simultaneously fall asleep at a red light (aHEMMM, Kody & Adrian).

Much of this perfectionistic hysteria is fueled by the amazingly skilled people who surround you in studio. The selection process for Architecture School is a vicious one, and most who make it through are accustomed to being The Best of the Best. You arrive with a padded ego, only to be knocked flat on your back by the talent that joins you there.

At the same time, these people share a certain insanity that you once thought was your own sole burden to carry. Their attitude swoops up & down between killing themselves with criticism, and a taunting, playful arrogance. Their brains are on fire with creativity, leading to 4-AM studio dance-karaoke parties, exacto-knife-flinging contests, and jumping in the courtyard fountain to pull themselves through 48-hours straight of consciousness. Within a week, your shock and intimidation has morphed into a profoundly genuine enthusiasm for your classmates' success.

For those of you still in school, I know you'll ROCK Review Week over the next few days. For those of you who graduated before me or with me, I hope you're happily employed. And to all of you, I want you to know that going to Architecture School was like meeting 100 of my long-lost brothers and sisters. We're masochistic, music-obsessed, expensive pen-collecting, visually-driven freaks who reacted like Portland cement and water. And-- you know this-- the result is a lot of warmth and a permanent bond.

HUGS to you all.

*If you're an Arch. student, take this quiz. Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, yes?!
**Environmental Control Systems. Here is a little song about the class's textbook. And I AM NOT KIDDING about the dust-mite fact... same goes for the pillow in your bed.
***Sketchup is a 3-D computer-modeling program. (And sadly, this anecdote was me... ask Jason and my dad.)

I should acknowledge that the whole 48-hour sleep deprivation isn't every Architecture student's experience. About 1-in-30 possess a magical talent for perfect focus, realistic expectations, time management, and knowing where to get illicit supplies of Ritalin (I kid, I kid). Seriously, these people astound me. And I suppose they can have a hug today, too.

Friday, November 26

Thanksgiving Leftovers

I am trippin' on tryptophan and unable to write a coherent post... so here are a jumble of leftover thought-scraps from Thanksgiving:
  • Is it just me, or do you guys also feel starving the day after Thanksgiving? My lifelong, elephant appetite has always led me to suspect tapeworms, so this day-after Thanksgiving hunger usually makes me wonder if the feast causes an overnight population explosion. Mmmm, a lovely tradition.
  • That turkey ended up tasting ALL KINDS OF AWESOME. Even though I substituted "cumin, red pepper, and garlic powder" with a packet of Sveedish "Taco Spice," and substituted "nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and ginger" with "Pumpkin Pie Spice." Bygones.
  • The Mama Bear shipped some baking soda & baking powder all the way to Sveeden, just so we could have leavened products in our Thanksgiving dinner! (The sweet potato biscuits & cornbread thank you for their existence, Mama B.) She even sent entire boxes of both, even though I only requested a small amount of each (in clear plastic baggies, clearly marked clearly as "Anthrax" and "Crack-Cocaine").
  • Okay, I promised TMI from the very first post and here is your latest helping of it: This morning, I ran to the bathroom with a gurgling stomach, only to turn the toilet water bright RED. Not a pleasant sight to wake up to. An image of the turkey marinating in the mop bucket immediately flashed before my eyes, and my lips went numb as all blood drained from my face. (Although I still had the clarity to think, "I hope it's not draining into my intestines.") I woozily covered my head with my hands, took a deep breath... and remembered that I had scarfed down a TON of beets at dinner. So, beware that beets make it look like you have bloody bowel syndrome. You're welcome.
As sick as my sense of humor is, I can't leave you on that note. So enjoy some  pictures of our Sveedish Thanksgiving table!

We pulled off everything listed on the menu... tada!

Thursday, November 25

Counting my blessings:

and many, many others!

You! Whether you're rooting us on, or judging the heck out of us with every post-- I'm flattered that you're reading this. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

My sweet friends who have been so amazing about staying in touch. I can't wait to see you all in a couple weeks!

My fun, hilarious, warmhearted family in-law. You make me feel so cozy, loved, and at-home when we get to spend time together. Thank you for raising the awesome man I married. (And I'm thankful that Granny is on her way to playing golf again!)

The Mama Bear & the Papa Bear, whose kind, loving souls gave me the best childhood a kid could ask for. Thank you for teaching me about what really matters in life. I count you two among my very best friends.

The Baby Sister Bear, who didn't tie me to a chair and lock me in a closet when I told her we were going to Sweden for three months. (If the roles were reversed... that's what I would have done.) I love you more than the world.

The Handsome Hubster, who listens (really listens), encourages, cares enough to give me reality checks when I need them, and understands when the "reality" thing is just a lost cause. I never imagined I would laugh so much, everyday; most nights we giggle ourselves to sleep like 8-year olds at a slumber party. I wake up every day excited to be next to you, & I love you more every minute.

Wednesday, November 24

Good Glögg this is exhausting... and FUN

Holey moley, amigos. I don't understand how those of you with children find the time to do this whole Thanksgiving schtick. (Oh-- potlucks.) I've been running around like a turkey with its hea... nevermind.

Leading into the arena for the final round, let's hear some updates:

Le Turkey
The air is thick with excitement! The National Day of Overeating is upon us! Time to celebrate food, family, and count our blessings! So, Sweden...
...Sveeeden? Hello?

Why are your grocers not grocing any turkeys?

Oh. I see. You don't annually rejoice over British pilgrims settling in North America.

About a week ago, I began getting nervous about the lack of turkage. I started evilly wringing my hands together whenever pigeons crossed my path. Then, Praise be to Veely's, a new frozen food section suddenly appeared at the store.

All sorts of frozen fowl abounded! We had a choice of duck, goose, turkey, or chicken. For one vengeful moment, I considered getting goose instead of turkey (a large portion of my childhood was spent being terrorized by geese). I went with turkey instead, considering I'm not the sort of person who feasts upon your flesh because a fellow member of your species was cranky. You can all sleep soundly tonight.*

Once we got the bird home, we realized that we needed something to marinate it in.

I spy, with my little eye, something that will hold a turkey. (Yeah, in the cleaning closet, so what?)

Jason washed it, but I'm looking up Sveedish Poison Control tonight just in case.

The bucket didn't exactly fit in our fridge, so:

(The tin foil was just in case there were any cannibalistic crows in Sweden.)
(Two hours later, there were crow prints next to it.)

Also... within the next 15 hours (hopefully 8 of which I'll be sleeping), I need to find something to cook it on. You know, other than the pizza pan.

Lingonberry relish
As I skipped off to the store today (for the FIFTH FREAKING TIME, to get the latest "two things I forgot,") I patted myself on the back for preparing a traditional Swedish food on Thanksgiving. Ironically, I found that Veely's no longer stocked lingonberries-- in their place gleamed little red cranberries. Shipped straight from the U.S.

So, along with fresh cranberries, I grabbed a jar of lingonberry jam to mix in, for some Symbolic Diversity at our table. Much like the original Thanksgiving, yes? We Matthewsers are deep like that.

As I walked home, I daydreamed about my Grandma Jean's fresh cranberry relish. I wish I could give each of you reading this a spoonful of that stuff. It's heavenly. And I was about to make it!

Such an easy recipe, too. Just chop apples and oranges, and mix them with blended cranberries...
...blended? Like with a blender? Ehmm...

I spend the next hour crushing individual cranberries through our garlic press. I have the beginnings of blisters on both hands. My table, hands, and face are splattered with exploded cranberry bits, giving "Ocean Spray" a whole new meaning. Grandma Jean will be so proud.

Romantical things
Amidst mashing yams, crushing berries, brining turkey, logging miles between here and Veely's, baking cornbread, and unplugging the smoke alarm, I did some more Hurricane-Martha-style decorating today.

(i.e. decorating with weeds, empty food containers, food, and clothes.)
(And cheating about $6 to buy some flowers.)
Please pray for my yellow scarf (aka table runner).

While we miss everybody very, very much... VERY much... part of me is excited about this opportunity to do Thanksgiving with just us tomorrow. I'm still wrapping my head around the fact that the two of us are a little family of our own now, and it's tackling crazy projects like this that really hit it home.

(But, still... thank Glögg for Skype!)

*I shall get my revenge on the ornery University of Oregon postman another day...**
**In SOME OTHER MANNER, of course.

Monday, November 22

Life is short. Cook dessert first.

Remember the Cheesy Seasonal display? Well, now there's only one pumpkin left. Cowering in horror.

Sacrificial Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust
Serves 2 for weeks and weeks (which is a good thing since those suckers cost beaucoup bucks.)

1) Appeased the kitchen gods with a slimy bathtub massacre.

2) Baked it, then satisfied my inner five-year-old who wishes I could smoosh stuff all day, every day.

3) I replaced 50% of the recipe's flour with smashed gingersnaps (because flour is a tasteless waste of calories), added lewd amounts of lard, and smooshed the ingredients together by hand. I tried not to cry out in pain as cookie shards shanked my palms cookie crumbs exfoliated my hands invigoratingly. (My inner five-year-old is done smooshing things for a while.)

4) I chilled the dough, floured the counter, then realized we have no rolling pins. I substituted a tall glass with surprising success.

Trying to transfer the perfectly-rolled dough, I discovered that it totally crumbled in my hands.
WIMPY, crust. Wimpy.
I angrily started tossing chunks into the pie pan with a slew of foul language. Amused and curious worried and thoughtful Mr. Matthewser heard the deluge and came to investigate. He showed his empathy by trying to steal some crust. A brief squabble ensued as I attemped to defend the meager dough resources.

Myself-- salvaged enough dough for thin crust. 8 points.
Jason-- generous helping of lardy gingersnap flour, PLUS he left floury hand prints on butt of my black sweatpants: 15 points. He resumed working on laptop (happily chewing).

I started to wonder if a single pumpkin sacrifice was a sufficient offering after all.

5) I managed to smoosh the dough into a pretty crust! Success. I carefully placed the crust into the oven. Returning after baking time... I found it inexplicably BURNT. Also, there were huge bubbles under the crust from air pockets expanding underneath.

I reread the recipe and saw that the temperature was correct, but I was supposed to fill it with "pie weights" to prevent bubbles. I put in the second crust, and set glass jars on it to prevent bubbles.

Bad idea.
(Although Jason is thrilled with all the spare crust to eat.)


7) Woke up. Made coffee that I'm not supposed to drink. (Due to health issues that you don't want to know about, not to mention coffee makes me SWEAR AND ABUSE THE CAPS LOCK KEY!!!!)

8) Now fully drugged, I smashed more cookies with an effing vengeance. IT FELT EXCELLENT. I repeated Step Three, and said SAYONARA to all the remaining epidermis on my hands.

Perhaps this will make the pie crust light and flakey.

9) Made pretty pie crust #3. Made filling.

Let me take this moment to say that "Sweetened Evaporated Milk" DISGUSTS ME. All I can think of is leftover cereal milk that's been sitting in the sink for a week. the filling supposed to look like that? I'm concerned.

10) We pulled them out of the oven. After waiting some 90 cliffhanging minutes for them to set...
Looks like only one will survive until Thursday.

*This is the recipe I used, more or less. From the one & only.

Friday, November 19

OPERATION: First Thanksgiving Without Parental Supervision

This is our mission if we so choose to accept it:

    • Pickled beets
    • Pressgurka (cucumber salad)
    • Lingonberry relish
    • Sveedish Meatballs
        • Garlic mashed potatoes with creme fraiche
        • Spice-cured turkey
        • Cornbread stuffing with green apples
        • Sweet potato biscuits

        • Sacrificial pumpkin pie with gingersnap crust
        • Pears poached in GLÖGG

        • Steaming hotGLÖGG

      Percentage of these recipes I've never tried before:

      Likelihood that I will forget to convert °F to °C and burn the living dickens out of something:
          89% (That's okay, I generally prefer my food dickens-free.)

      Does our smoke alarm work?
          DEFINITELY. I have "tested" it quite often while we've been

      Do we have the proper equipment?
      Why yes, a bottle opener IS a cooking tool in this house (wink).

      T-MINUS 144 HOURS.

      Thursday, November 18

      An Ode to Glögg

      Perusing the aisles of Willy's one day,
      I spied your carboard carton.
      I thought you'd only be a bore,
      and leave my checkbook smartin'.

      Your awful name intrigued me, though,
      "Is it swamp water?" I said.
      I tossed you in the cart that eve'
      and moved on to the bread.

      Once at home I cracked your lid
      (I wondered if I'd need to chew).
      I took a cautious swig, unnknowing
      Life would soon begin anew.

      A flock of cherubs sang out my ears
      My heart, it nigh exploded.
      Everything my taste buds once liked
      was now, by far, outmoded.

      You're Christmas in a glass, dear glögg.
      You're Jesus-Inspired Brew.
      You're sugar and spice and everything nice
      But you've got some puppy tail, too:

      I spied upon your blessed vessel
      A note saying "Alkoholfri."
      There must be a naughty version out there
      But let's keep it away from me...

      I'm hunting down your recipe, glögg,
      I must have you on demand.
      Back at home, they need to meet you--
      The Glögg Party's already planned.

      Wednesday, November 17

      A moment to savor

      I think the long hours in the lab are getting to him. Jason finally--

      as in, after seven years, FINALLY--

      had an April moment.*

      *e.g.: My phone has been known to hide inside the refrigerator.