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.