Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Is it the circle of life or signs of the impending apocalypse?

Right, so at the beginning of summer I was amazed that seagulls were rare and bullfrogs plentiful in my little town by the sea. I mean, that's all kinds of backwards if you think about it.  But it was what it was and the croaking of amorous bullfrogs punctuated our sleep for what seemed like months.

But I didn't mind the bullfrogs.  One, it sounded a lot like where I grew up, where the sound of frogs drifted up from the creek, and two, I hoped they would keep the mosquito population in check.

I'm not entirely sure what happened but suddenly the cacophony of the pond came to an end.  And nary a frog was to be seen or heard again.  Perhaps they over-ate and died.  At any rate, it's been a long time since the frogs croaked.  (Boo-yah, that was an awesome pun!  Fist-pump to the sky, yo!)  And true to form we were quickly swamped with mosquitos.

It was as horrible as it sounds.  Doors and windows had to be closed before turning on the lights and several times the ceiling had to be vacuumed because a swarm had landed and looked like they were in for the long haul.  The bedroom was a scene of carnage.  Thankfully the ceiling is lower there and I could kill the little buggers with some toilet paper.  Tallies were kept of the daily kills, though usually when you hit 10 you just go with "lots" as the final number.  The old Israel mosquito killer was plugged in. (It's a red thing that looks like a plug adapter, but isn't.  You put a special tab into it that releases something into the air that repels mosquitos when it's plugged in.  Possibly very toxic but also very effective.  Far more effective than my other option: waving my arms and yelling.)  The mosquitos also got increasingly larger as the summer progressed.  I even stopped asking my husband to eject the spiders out of the house, it got so bad.

Yes, you heard me right.  I LEFT THE SPIDERS IN THE HOUSE!  That is how serious the mosquito pestilence was.

The temperature dropped a bit and we thought, ah, this will end 'em, but still they came.  The bathroom, or should I say the blood-bath-room, was a region of strategic importance.  Oh, the battles that were fought!  The number of times I peed in the dark!  *shakes head*  Numerous spiders were allowed to spin in the window in a desperate attempt to bring cool air in without letting in the swarm.  The spiders, alas, were useless.  I don't think I saw one desiccated mosquito corpse in any web, either in the bath or bedrooms.  In fact, yesterday I found the corpse of a full grown mosquito on my desk.  He seems to have died of old age.  OLD AGE!  He had a grey beard and a mechanical wheelchair!  Or would have if they made them for mosquitos.  And that beard may have been part of a dust bunny he tangled with.  But still OLD AGE!!

But then, after just a few weeks of oh-my-god-honey-look-at-the-ceiling shrieking and pointing, the mosquitos were, for the most part, gone.

In their place came the spiders.  I don't know what they've been eating, because it sure as hell wasn't the mosquitoes, but they have thrived all the same.  What was once a few spiders in a window or one corner of the room because a scene from "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

Yeah, that scene.  The one that gives me the shivers.

This is my house after one day of not cleaning.  I think the poor bastard in this photo was trying to stuff some ads for Netto under my door when the mosquitos got him.

Meanwhile the dust-bunnies have been gathering in strength because we're too busy vacuuming the ceiling.  I might as well just attach the chandelier to the floor and tell everyone the house was built upside down.

But today I noticed something very different when I threw open the curtains (scattering several spiders and rolling at least one up into the pull-down shade).  Swarms of sparrows and swallows.   As I look out my window now, they are mostly swallows, but this morning my garden was full of dust-bathing house sparrows.  It's like I'm living "The Birds."

Only with small cute little birds that chirp and that had better be eating spiders and mosquitos instead of the large cawing crows and ravens that infested the movie.

Omygod, is that a "The Birds Barbie"?

I want one!  I'd call her Lenore and the birds Edgar, Allan, and Poe!  It would freakin' rock!!

Someone, please, mark this down for my birthday present.

Right, where was I?

Oh yes.  So Act of God or Act of Nature?  Am I looking at signs of the impending apocalypse or should I rent "The Lion King" and a set of bongo drums?

So far, Alot has not taken to lying down with dogs (a trusted and true measure of impending doom, right up there with an enraged Stay Puff Marshmallow Man terrorizing downtown New York) and the only mass hysteria I've seen is in Netto (although it looks like it's been hit by a plague of locusts so maybe a point towards apocalypse should be awarded).  But I did see a ginormous ginger cat on a boat the other day.  He looked completely calm and not at all like a Turkish Van (a breed of cat that likes water).  That might have to go on the pro-apocalypse list.

Any other signs of a Revelatory nature?  Pia K. converts to Islam?  Dub-ya joins PETA and gives away his millions to help clean up the Gulf?  Joe Biden manages to go a week without putting his foot in his mouth?

If you've seen a sign of the End Times, let me know in the comments, will ya?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My brief flirtation with wildlife photography

My Dane often does not understand me.  He's entertained, most assuredly, which works for me, because then I have someone to vacuum my floor and wash my clothes and remove spiders post haste and I can always say "yeah, but I make you laugh" when questioned on my usefulness.  But frequently he's left standing on the sidelines while I make a run for the crazy.  At least he cheers me on.  I should buy him pom-poms!

Anyway, yesterday I saw Alot in the yard, sunning himself on this random cement table-like thing in the garden.  I call it table-like because it's small, in front of a bench, but has this weird circular cup in the center.  Like I should put a potted plant in it.  Only that would be stupid, because then when you sat at the table you'd have a face full of plant.

Oh my god!  I know what to do!  I need a small palm tree.  Because then it would be a face palm!


Hey I'm laughing - and like they say, "laugh and the whole world laughs with you" - so laugh people!  I command it!

Ahem, as I was saying...  Alot on the table in the garden.  But I had NO camera.  This was the problem outlined in the previous post.  But I am SO DETERMINED to be a wildlife photographer I grabbed my computer and tried to use the built in camera to take the picture.

It didn't work.  Look at my frown on concentration, though!  And the weird thing is that this camera takes pictures backwards.  That's my garden in reverse.  And my left eye, not my right.  I noticed this first when I was trying to photograph myself with a hand written sign.  I had to write the damn thing backwards.

Somebody is going to point out that I could have popped it into iphoto or picture viewer and flipped the photo around.  Yeah, I know that NOW, where were you when I was carefully writing backwards!!

See, I *can* do it.  Not the writing backwards, the flipping of the photo!

What was I talking about again?  Oh yes, Alot.  Not really visible in this photo.  Note to Apple (© ™ ® and maybe §) - could you all make a zoom feature on your little camera thing?  Or you know, send me another digital camera.  One with video, cause that's really handy to have when you are at the Dead Sea.  In fact, just send me another camera, the Canon PowerShot S90 would be very handy.

I was pondering the options when my husband came home with the camera.  Ah!  Success!  And where the hell were you when I needed to photograph my mostly clean office?

Taking the camera, I began to stalk my prey.

Here he iz (all wildlife photographers speak with funny accents or are later replaced by a David Attenborough clone, true story).  In hiz natif habitats.  Ay zee him.  He not zee me.

He slips.  The slip of de innozent.  De soft slip of youth.  Ay admire hiz peace.  Hiz rest.  Hiz peaceful rest.  Ay will move closer.

Across de gravel Ay creeps.  He slips.  He hears me not.  Ay must be silent.  Silent as a duck.

Dis is difficult.  De Dane he keeps laffing at my aczent.  Ay tells him to zip it.  Ay am a highly acomplished vildlife fotografer and he cannot even say veil correctly.

Ah no!  He avakes!


I can only assume that the wildlife photographer was brutally maimed and died later of injuries sustained in the field, which is fine since a David Attenborough clone turned up later that day for additional filming.  Or maybe it was the clone that maimed the photographer.  Clones do that you know.

Or maybe the photo-shoot quickly dissolved into LOLcats.

I'm on yur pedestal.  Feel free to wurship me.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The grand plan...

The grand plan was to proceed through my house room by room, with me photographing each room when it was slightly-more-clean-than-usual and at least sunny.


The alignment of three things: sun, cleanliness, and availability of camera when married to a journalist who takes his own pictures is sort of like Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter all aligning with Earth - very rare indeed.  And don't be all "oh, well, why don't you wait for the weekend?" If it's not cloudy on the weekend (oh, Danish weather, you scamp you!) I am all about trying to get out and see new stuff.  Have car, will tour, that's me!  I really hate staying home and cleaning on the two days I'm stuck with enjoying the company of my husband and his Fascist cleanliness tendencies.  Since lounging around and enjoying our house and garden is seemingly beyond him (unless he can AT THE SAME TIME watch the news, balance the checkbook, and research the going rate of 1986 commemorative 10 kr. coins - current value, less than 10 kr. because it's no longer legal tender), we resort to the Archaeogoddesses surfire way of enjoying a weekend. 

Go see old stuff.

We went to the museum up the street the other weekend, because it was having a free day and we're a bit poor until payday, at least poor enough that money should be spent on food, not entry fees.  It was quite nice.  Lots of old stuff.  And we learned what these funny small stone buildings were that we see all over the island.  Sorry, there's no photo.  Lemme see if I can describe them.

Imagine a dog house-sized stone structure with a flat tin roof.  The walls are very thick, thicker than the walls of most houses (medieval castles aside) and there is one small door in the front.  This door may be made of iron or it may now be missing.  Also often missing is the roof.  The roof (when present) is slightly sloped from the front to the back.

It drove me nuts.  What were these small buildings?  While they were dog house sized, why would you need a dog house that had walls that could withstand months of siege warfare?  Was there something especially violent about Danish chickens that they had to be housed in a bunker?

The museum gave me the answer: they held white sand used to clean floors.  Yeah, I'm also having a WTF kind of answer is that? But at least it's an answer.  Now some investigation can be undertook.  Something along the lines of, why does everyone in one town have a HUGE sand house and no one else?  Do you really need that much sand to clean your floors?  What The F*ck?

Okay, so when I'm not driving around the countryside yelling at my husband "what do you mean you don't know what these small houses are for?  Don't give me that 'you grew up in suburbia'!  I demand answers!" I sit in my office and write blog posts.  Or google.  Or read WAY too much wikipedia.  And then cross check it with Encyclopedia Britannica.

This is the desk in the office that I inhabit.  Through the double doors you can see the dining room.  The photo was taken while standing in the door between my husband's office and my own.  Just trying to orient you.  Speaking of orientation, the desk, violently purple couch and TV are all angled oddly to keep anything from being up against the radiator or the exterior wall and to make maximum use of my desk, which has shelves and drawers on the front AND the back.  I also can still get a lovely view just by turning my head and yet I also get to keep my back to the wall.  Wild Bill Hickok taught me a trick or two, you see.  Since I scream like a baboon if startled, and I startle easily, this is the best defense against punctured ear drums.  

This is the view from my desk.  Obviously not the one out the window and into the garden.  Now there are fewer boxes (two less, yay me!).  The door seen there is the one to my husband's office.

And if you sit on the violently purple couch, you can see into my husband's office (to the right), the dining room (to the left), the kitchen (although not in this photograph) and sometimes the parlor, if the doors are open enough and you tilt your head back just so...  Behind the violently purple couch is another bookshelf, not nearly so tall as the one you see before you.  It's also full.  We need more bookshelves.  We also need file cabinets, which I am *so* getting the next time we're in Ikea.  With money.  Very important distinction there.  No point in being arrested for trying to shop-lift a large organizational device from Ikea.  That's just sad.  

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Conversations With My Husband or Why Facebook Saved Our Marriage

AG: Our anniversary is on Monday.
DB: I know.
AG: Facebook told me so.
DB: I thought it might have.

It's not cat pee

AG: You know, science has supposedly proven that women have a better sense of smell than men, but are worse at spacial reasoning.  But seeing how I'm a whiz at parking...
DB: I know, I know, more proof that you are the man and I'm the woman.
AG: Well, you'd better hope so, otherwise you are having olfactory hallucinations.

My husband is insisting that one of our mattresses smells of cat pee.  I have sniffed and sniffed and all I smell is that chemically fresh mattress smell.  I keep telling him that if a cat had sprayed or peed in the spare room WE WOULD TOTALLY SMELL IT!

I'm half tempted to lock Alot in one of the rooms until he pees just to show my husband that cat pee is a smell unto itself.  A powerful one-two punch that can only be outdone by the +80 rats that the rat catcher has racked up in the basement of the building in Århus.  (Seriously, the rat catcher sends the DB texts every week with the latest numbers.)  Cat pee is not a slight scent that one can catch from time to time.  It assaults the nose, makes the eyes run, bleaches carpet.

To top it off, the man has never owned a cat.  His father hates cats and instilled a fear and distrust of cats in my husband at a young age.  Seriously.  He finally confessed to me that there was a neighbor's cat that used to follow him home from the bus stop.  It would run in front of him and sit in the road and my husband would have to CROSS THE STREET because if he didn't he *knew* the cat would "get him."  It would often sit at the end of the driveway and he'd have to dash past it to get safely home.  I now feel slightly bad that I subjected him to my family's cats without any warning, but how did I know he was uncomfortable around cats?  It does also prove how much my husband was determined to make a good impression on my family.  He let our cats sit on him.  (To be fair to the cats, you try to keep a 20 lbs cat off you.  The hubs had pretty much no choice on that one.)  It was years before I found out about his discomfort.  By then my family's cats had slightly desensitized him.  I mean, how can you fear a drooling cross eyed cat who puts out a paw and asks "merow?" before climbing into your lap?

Anyway, his only knowledge of cat pee was once when he stayed with a relative who had a cat and that cat peed on his duvet.  He was 8 or something.  It was further proof that cats were evil monsters in fur coats, as far as his father was concerned.  But does not change my opinion that the DB has NO IDEA what he's talking about in regards to cat pee.

There is NO cat pee smell.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Some randomness for your day

For my "text" I used the Geek Quiz blog post from last week.  I'm rather tickled.  I think I need a stuffed Cthulhu for my desk.

I write like
H. P. Lovecraft
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I risked life and limb for you today

I went and took a picture of my husband's office.

No, it's not some Bluebeard thing where I'm now going to be killed by my husband for trespassing on his private realm.  It's just incredibly messy.  Only I cannot tell him that without him getting all defensive.  He lacks time to organize blah blah blah... and I'm all, well, dude, that's why it's messy, right?  I'm not making personal judgments here, I'm not saying you're a bad person, I'm just sayin' the office is a death trap and someday you won't be able to find me because I'm buried under the gazillion printouts of EU laws and statutes.

He tried to "organize" the other day by trying to get rid of old research on grinding stones.  Ha ha, very funny, trying to "clean" by telling the archaeologist in the house that you are going to throw out old ARCHAEOLOGY RESEARCH!  That shit is so not happening.  He is apparently not going to part with all the journals, reports and newspaper articles regarding harbor projects in northern Germany.

Not that I'm making value judgments here.  Oh no.  But if it crushes the life from this very proportional and damn sexy body - WHO'S GOING TO WISH HE'D JUST LISTENED TO HIS WIFE??

So once again we are left with the problem of not enough book shelves and a complete disregard for the proper priorities in this house.

Meanwhile, in the living room....

You can see the parlor through the door.  I'm standing in the corner by the windows, which is why you can't see them.

Now I'm standing in the corner pictured above.  See the curtain?  That was one of the floor-to-ceiling curtains in my old Ebeltoft apartment.  I should really hem it so that it's not brushing the radiator, but I like seeing the whole length.  It reminds me that I have wicked high ceilings.  It also reminds me that these windows are some of the oldest in the house and lack a secondary window on the inside.  One pane of glass separates me from the weather.  And the tourists.  In the winter I fully expect to abandon this room as well as the parlor.  Or I'll pull an old Rhode Island trick where you tape plastic wrap (yes, the kitchen kind) over your window.  But for now we are serenaded every night by the Night Watchman who gives tours.  We aren't on the tour, but the building across from us is.

Heh heh heh... how does it feel to the attraction now, suckahs!

Finally, from the corner by the other window, you can see the tiny little door in the wall.  All the other doors are well over two meters tall, yet this little one is about 5 foot 9 and a half inches or 176 centimeters.  My husband is 190 cm.

Can you see how this will end?  In tears, every time.

And thus we now know that we will never be able to live in one of those cute little 17th century homes with low ceilings.  Because he just does not remember to duck.

If you duck through that little door, you find yourself in...

My husband's office.

I find it rather amusing that the tall man has to go through the short door to get to his office.  But that is just how it is.  He has an office at work, so he doesn't really need all that much office space at home.  Or so I insisted we decided.  There are three desks in that office.  THREE.  The white one is my old desk, there's a natural wood one made of two pillars of drawers topped by what may have been a door at one point, and a green teacher's podium.  Every surface is covered with something and there are three banana boxes of stuff visible in the photo and another four behind those and then three more behind the door just visible on the right.

That door leads to my office, and yes, it is a normal sized door.  When he remembers, he goes through my office.

We've now made it one quarter of the way through my house!

Sweet Mary mother of god, my house is too damn big.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Middle Eastern Cooking

You'd think that since I spent five months in the desert eating food from the Syrian restaurant down the road, I'd be hankering for Chinese or Mexican or something and would shy away from Middle Eastern for awhile.  But that ain't the way this stomach rolls.  No-siree-Bob.  My stomach was all "BACON!" for a week and then it was back to "where's the Fattoush?"  So every now and then I whip out the old Middle East Cookbook the Dane got waaaaay back in the day and throw something together.  Usually a lentil soup, because no one does lentils like Semitic speaking peoples.  One of the other great things about lentil soup is that it is cheap and versatile.  Okay, that's two things.  But if you have lentils and an onion, you have soup.  If you have more stuff, you can fancy it up.  Me, I had a bunch of lemons in the house the other day.  I whipped up this soup and then made lemon bars for desert.  This house is free of scurvy, but we may all end up with cavities.

In this recipe, the lentils called for are dried red lentils.  They are little tiny red beans and they rock.  No soaking, no precooking, chuck 'em in boiling water and an hour later: SOUP!  You find them in Denmark as røde linser and when they show up in Netto at 10 kr a bag, I stock up.  They never go bad as long as you keep them dry.  You can find them at the other major chains in DK, often in the organic aisle.  You could probably get away with using brown lentils/grønne linser.  Lord knows I'll use any damn beans I can get my hands on.

1 1/2 cups red lentils
6 cups meat or chicken stock or water
1 medium-sized onion, grated or really finely chopped because my grater was dirty
1 tsp ground cumin (spiskummen in Denmark)
freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice (aprox. half of a lemon, keep the other half for making lemon wedges to serve along side)

For topping:
2 large onions
1/4 cup olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped.

1. Rinse your lentils.
2. Bring stock or water to a boil in a large pot.  Add lentils and onion.  Return to a slow boil, cover and simmer over low heat for 45-60 minutes.  Do not stir during cooking.
2b. While the soup is cooking, prepare the topping.  First halve the peeled onions lengthwise and slice thinly to make semi-circles.  Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the onions over medium heat until golden brown.  I basically caramelized the buggers because I got side-tracked while baking lemon bars, and it turned out fantastic.  Add the garlic and cook a minute longer.
3. At the end of an hour, the lentils and onion will be very soft, but if you want a finer soup, use a blender.
4. Add cumin and salt and pepper to taste.  I didn't need to add any salt because I used bouillon cubes.  If a thinner soup is desired, add water to achieve desired consistency.  Stir in lemon juice and heat gently until bubbling.
5. Serve in deep bowls with the onion topping, called ta'leya.  Have lemon wedges and olive oil on hand in case someone like me wants a bit more citric acid and oil in their diet.  Also, a nice loaf of French or Italian bread, heated up in a 425 F/220 C oven for 10 minutes wouldn't be culturally appropriate, but would be damn tasty.

This particular recipe supposedly came from Egypt, but you'll find a gazillion of lentil soup recipes throughout the region and everyone's mother-in-law insists hers is the best.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Julius Reubke totally took the Tardis to the 24th century!

Quick "Geek Test" - Choose the following that best fits your thoughts after reading the title of this post:
B) Gotta wiki Reubke
C) I understand that Reubke was ahead of his time, but what, pray tell, is a "Tardis"?
D) Dude I *so* know!

If you answered A, congratulations, you are a normal human being and I commend you for living, what is for many, a completely normal life.  On the other hand, it may be a bit dull as you are missing a great deal of pop-culture and classical artistry.  You have earned no cool points.  It is likely that you are completely divorced from the period in which you live.  If you counter this argument by pointing out you watch "The Hills" regularly, you loose 100 cool points.  You may give yourself one cool point if you have ever participated in a Glee sing-along.  You may award yourself 10 cool points if you participated in a Glee sing-along without knowing it was a Glee sing-along, but just because you simply could not help breaking into spontaneous song and dance.  The AG recommends a steady dose of Blackadder and Star Wars (Episodes 4, 5 and 6 - ask a Geek for help on this matter) to rectify your deficient cultural awareness.

If you answered B, congratulations, we are probably friends.  Very likely close friends.  You are also a total geek.  One hundred cool points to you!  Give yourself an extra 10 points if you have ever argued with someone over the continuity of the Terminator movies.  Give yourself 5 more points for every time you used the terms "space-time," "continuum," and "chaos theory."

If you answered C, congratulations, welcome to the internet.  It is a strange place and I think you may have become lost at the Google.  The Google is the starting point for all searches on the Internet and it has become both a noun and a verb as well as a place name and probably some poor child's Christian name.  We use "google" to refer to any search from any web-host, including Yahoo.  I doubt Yahoo likes this very much.  If you came to this web-site via Netscape, you may have fallen through a hole in the space-time continuum and I beg you to return... and buy me stock in Google and Apple.  When we meet again in the time line, I will award you 50 cool points.

If you answered D, congratulations, you are my new partner in Trivial Pursuit.  How random are you, anyway?  I'm not sure if I should be awarding you cool points or be kinda creeped out.  Unless you are a classical music enthusiast with a penchant for sci-fi, I am a bit concerned that you may have followed me to the organ concert last night.  It was a pretty awesome concert though, am I right?  I mean, how often do you get a free, intimate organ concert by Denmark's top organist?  The guy plays at the Copenhagen Cathedral!  For the Mo-Fo Queen!  He totally rocked the Bach and Hayden!  And the Reubke - I'd never heard of the guy before, but was that one messed up dude or what?  I mean, who the hell writes a sonata for the 94 psalm?  But did you see an epic space battle when you closed your eyes?  It was like someone gave John Williams downers and put him in front of an organ.  Totally awesome!  I award us both a million cool points.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Sometimes I wonder what other people think when they overhear our conversations

I just wonder, mind.  I'm not agonizing over it.  I'm not worried that people think I'm weird or that people don't think I'm weird.  Okay, I'm a little worried that they secretly hate me and will go home and pray that I'm struck down by a weird disease but that's only because these are STRANGERS we are talking about and we all know about "Stranger Danger"!

Actually, you might not know about "Stranger Danger" if you didn't grow up in Paranoid America.  You can find some awesome videos on YouTube.

Anyway, moving on.  The following conversation took place last night as we strolled about town.

Danish Boy: (exasperated because we have again stopped to take a picture) Can we do this later?  I thought we were on a walk!
Archaeogoddess: What, I can't stop and take a picture of cool stuff?
DB: But it's going to be dark soon and I wanted to go for a walk.
AG: Good god, I didn't know that when you said "walk" you meant "Bataan Death March"!

At which point two teenage girls rushed past, fearfully looking over their shoulders.  I doubt they know anything about the BDM and half of me wanted to shout out the historical reference I was making and the other half wanted to shout out "and no I will not use my indoor voice" because my husband was making that uncomfortable-face, the one he makes when I'm embarrassing him but he knows that he can't say anything about it without me REALLY embarrassing him, which I can do without batting an eye.

DB: (as we walk past the harbor) shhhh... not so loud.
AG: What?
DB: I said shhhh, not so loud.
AG: I can't hear you.  YOU HAVE TO SPEAK UP!
DB: I said "not so loud."

I'm pretty sure that the universe has a horrible sense of humor and I'll end up going deaf, because that would drive my soft spoken mumbling husband absolutely insane.  At which point I'm going to start wearing underpants on my head, 'cause that'd just be funny.  Yup, I was put on this earth just to drive him mad.  Completely round the bend bonkers.

DB: (As we stop again) *le sigh*
AG: You know, when you take pictures, I have to stand around waiting for ages while you take a gazillion shots FROM THE EXACT SAME PLACE of the EXACT SAME THING and do I complain or force you to hurry up?  NO I DO NOT.  All I ask in return is the same common courtesy when I stop to take one or two very quick pictures of something before moving on.
DB: mumblemublemuble
AG: What?
AG: Jesus, baby, you don't need to yell.  I'm not deaf you know.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Totally hereditary...

In case you've ever wondered if I was dropped on my head at birth... well, my mom is suspiciously mum on the matter.  But if you've ever met my dad, you'd quickly know where I got my sense of humor.

The following excerpts were taken from emails my dad sent me.  The brain he's referring to at first is his old Day Planner organizer.

 <= it looked like this.

"Yes, your Dad bought a  Blackberry.  President Obama had one.  If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me.  It has replaced my old brain.  The old brain was wearing out, was large and cumbersome.  Now my new brain is smaller and fits on my belt and vibrates when it gets a message.  Somewhat like my real brain.  Except for the part about the belt.
  Today we have a man installing an irrigation system at our house. ... I enjoy the solitude of watering plants, but we have so many plants now that it is more time consuming than I'd like it to be.  Even though many of the plants are dead.  Watering dead plants is just not what it used to be."  

"If tourist season only begins in mid-June does that mean you have to wait till then to shot them?  Is there a limit?  Is Sarah Palin aware of this?  Dick Cheny?  When does tourist season end?  Have you seen many tourist tied to the hoods of cars?  Do you see many tourist lying on the side of the road?  Send us a picture."

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Here's a thought for the day...

If my husband dies, I have until my visa runs out to leave Denmark.

If I die - even though I am enjoying the benefits of temporary residency in DK (/sarcasm) - my husband has two years to apply for permanent residency in the US. Even though he doesn't have any type of visa now.

Alive, all I have to do to get him a permanent residency in the states is to sponsor him, that is, make over $20,000 a year.  Or ask my parents to sponsor him, since we'd all be living there until I got a job anyway.  As long as they make over $28,000 a year.  Not a problem there.

He will not be required to prove active participation in society by joining a club or being on the board of an organization.  He will not need to acquire 100 points.  He will not need to apply for an extension every year no earlier than three and no later than one month before his visa expires because it won't fucking expire because it's a GOD DAMNED PERMANENT VISA!

Yes, it's that time of year again, folks.  Time to extend my visa.  *Whoo-hoo.* Time to again check the little boxes saying I've been a very good girl and not taken any money from the government I support with my taxes, that I have not broken any laws, that I still live in a house bigger than 40 sq. meters.  Then my husband gets to sign that the conditions of his current residency permit have not changed (causing him to yell at the paper, "oh my god, I'm a citizen for Christ's sake, I was BORN here.  God I hate this country.").  I'll turn it in and then wait three months for my visa to be renewed.  Which means that for at least one month, possibly even two, I will be here without a valid visa in my hand.  So before it expires, I'll ask for a paper saying that they are reviewing my application and that I can stay in Denmark until the final decision, because I'll need to be able to prove that I can legally stay here and work when I need to fill out work contracts.  And they'll tell me I don't need them and then I'll say, YOU TELL THE UNIVERSITY OF COPENHAGEN THAT THEN.  Then before I leave for Qatar, because I won't have gotten my residency card yet, I'll have to get a re-entry visa that will expire before I can reenter Denmark because they are only good for three months and I work for five.  I'll also have to provide documentation to the ministry of integration so that they know why I'm taking five months off of Danish class.

When not being bugged by the government, we are very happy with our lives here.  Just go away and let us be!

Strawberry Shortcake

Oh, it rocked, my dessert!  I am ever so pleased.  I have no idea why I haven't made this before, especially for the in-laws, who I am always trying to impress with my cooking skills AND force them to experience my culture.  Heh heh heh.

But I'm not completely culturally insensitive to my Danish palates (not to be confused with Danish pallets or palettes).  I altered the recipe somewhat, mostly by decreasing the sugar.  Also I substituted creme fraiche for sour cream, because I can't get sour creme in Denmark, but it's practically the same thing.  I'll give you the recipe as it is offered in my Better Homes and Garden's cookbook with my changes in italics.

While you can absolutely make strawberry shortcake with pound cake or angel food cake, I love biscuits.  Therefore this recipe begins with making some biscuits...


  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of sugar in this case, I did use 1/4 cup of sugar because it's for baking the biscuits
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda (called "natron" in Danish)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup of cold butter (aprox. 75 g.)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup dairy sour cream or 1/2 creme fraiche (I used 9% and it may have affected the dough which was a little wet, but it tasted lovely)
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 5 cups sliced strawberries I measured 5 cups of strawberries before I sliced them and had enough
  • 3 tbsp. sugar or 1-2 tbsp because I had fewer strawberries and they were pretty sweet on their own
  • sweetened whipped cream made my own by whipping 1 cup heavy cream (piskede fløde in DK), 1 heaping tbsp of powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1.  Preheat the oven to 400 F/200C.  In a small bowl, slice strawberries and sprinkle desired amount of sugar over them; set aside.  Lightly grease a baking sheet (or use baking paper); set aside.  In a medium bowl stir together flour, the 1/4 cup of sugar, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  In a small bowl combine egg, sour cream, and milk.  Add to flour mixture; stir with a fork just until moistened.
2.  Drop dough into 8 mounds onto prepared baking sheet.  Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Mine came out a little flat, I think this may be because the dough was very wet, possibly because I used a low fat creme fraiche.
3.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine 4 cups of the strawberries and 3 tbsps sugar unless you did this already.  Using a potato masher or an egg beater because you don't have a potato masher, mash berries slightly; set aside.  Make sweetened whipped cream.  To serve, halve shortcakes; fill with strawberries and sweetened whipped cream.  Top with remaining sliced strawberries or not because this makes no sense.