Sunday, March 27, 2011

And now for the news you've all been waiting for...

On the 13th of March, weighing 3270 grams (7 lbs, 3.35 oz) and at 51 centimeters (20 inches) long...

The Archaeospawn Arrived!

Momma and baby are fine - and we're starting to get into the swing of things.  Most of the family visits have finished, so I'll either have more time to post because I'm not cooking large meals and presenting my child to all and sundry or less time because My God, she never stops eating!  On the plus side, it means she may grow into her newborn clothes.  I birthed me a tiny child.  Believe me, though, she didn't FEEL tiny on the way out.  However, that's another story.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Alas, I didn't go into labor yesterday...

So I had to take my Danish test.

This test was not the Last Danish Test, as in the one that I will have to take before I am free (FREE!) to be as lousy at Danish as I want to be.  This was the test that comes right before That One.  This one is the test that I took only 5 weeks after passing the previous Danish test, which was passed in a very Hail Mary Pass kind of way.

Which means I am fairly confident that I bombed it.

The tests are usually broken up into timed sections on writing, listening, reading comprehension and speaking.  One of my listening sections was about a dentist.  I needed to listen to what was said and answer some of the questions.  One of the questions was something about what was great about his school.  I think.  (Oh yeah, you always know you're going to do well on a test when you realize you don't actually understand the questions being asked.)

Anyway, I heard "comrade-ship" and "girls" - only now that I'm thinking about it... the word for "girls" is "piger" and there may be a Danish word for "peer" that is, well, pronounced "peer" which sounds to me like "piger" (the word for girls, remember) and that what he SAID was "I liked my classmates and peers" not "I liked my classmates and the girls."

Alas, the interpretation of that answer then colored ALL of my other answers. 'Cause this dentist sounded like a JERK.  I mean, WHO THE HELL SAYS THEY LIKED THE CHICKS AT THEIR SCHOOL??  (Apart from every self-proclaimed red-blooded male. [Public Service Announcement: if they actually call themselves a "red-blooded male" just save yourself some time and trouble, pour your drink over their head, hit them with your purse and GO HOME].)  Swear to god, after that I heard that answer, I heard that he liked owning his own clinic because he got to be the boss and he made lots of money.  The Ass!  Nevermind that the first answer I had given for that section ("Why does he like being a dentist?") was "he likes being able to help people who are in pain."

Poor dentist.  One misheard word and he goes from being a sympathetic character to my new nemesis.

Of course, I'm also biased having been subjected to a rather brutal dental cleaning recently.  It wouldn't have been so bad had I been to the dentist some time in the previous 5 years and had I not been 9 months pregnant (swollen gums - because EVERYTHING swells when you are pregnant - leads to copious bleeding).  Note: the dentist had to grudgingly admit that considering I was pregnant and hadn't had my teeth cleaned in 5 years... they looked fine and there were no cavities.  HA!

But the "piger" vs. "peer" error just highlights yet again the problem I have with Danish.  I just don't hear the difference between some words.  All those extra letters... and yet you don't pronounce half of the alphabet anyway and the other half ALL SOUND THE SAME!

On Wednesday in driver's ed I made a rather humorous mistake during the practice test.  I heard "should you turn on your headlights when there is a train?" And I answered "no" because, uh, duh.  But it didn't stick out as a completely stupid question because some of the questions on the practice test ARE incredibly stupid - "you see a girl on a bike in your lane, what should you do?  Should you speed up?  Should you pass her when it is safe to do so?  Should you slow down and follow her?"  Dude, you should TOTALLY slow down and follow her home and then honk and shout "hey baby, what's your star sign!!"  Wait, that wasn't an option?  Damn.

Anyway, the question was ACTUALLY "should you turn on your headlights when there is fog?" The answer, in case you were wondering, is YES!

Word for "train" = tog (pronounced toe)
Word for "fog" = tåge (pronounced toeh)

So the conversation during the answer part of the test went like this:
Drivers Ed Teacher: (in danish) Don't you turn on your lights when there's fog?
AG: (in danglish) No, of course not, that would be dumb.
DET: ???
DB: pssst...(in english)  Fog... we're talking about FOG!
AG: (in english) FOG?!? Oh, I thought the test said "Train"!
Class laughs, DB face/palms, I feel slightly vindicated because you do NOT turn on your headlights when you see a train, so really I was correct.  I WIN Y'ALL!
AG: (in english, under her breath to the DB) Well, how the hell was I supposed to know that - I haven't learned the word for fog yet!

At least this error made some form of sense.  A few weeks ago I missed a question (thank GOD this one occurred at home) because I heard "bamse" which means "teddy bear" instead of "bramser" which means "brakes."  Honestly, had I thought about it for a minute I'm sure I could have figured that out, because in a residential area "should you be prepared to use your teddy bear" really doesn't have ANY place in a driving test.  A test for pedophiles yes, but not for drivers.

Then again, this is DENMARK, it's all foreign and stuff.  Maybe that's just how they roll.  I mean, they think applesauce is a dessert, for crying out loud.  Eight YEARS and suddenly that stupid applesauce dessert people have been forcing on me makes sense now.  You put applesauce in a bowl, sprinkle toasted oatmeal on top and then squirt some whipped cream on top of that and then serve it to the American and call it "apple cake" and then wonder why she looks confused and then confusedly ask her "don't you eat apples in America?"  Seriously, maybe this is a country where you need to be prepared to use your teddy bear when you drive through a residential area.  Danish children tend to be suicidal maniacs running about in the street, perhaps rolling down your window and throwing a teddy bear in their general direction would distract them and you could drive away at faster than 5 mph.  And, by the way, OF COURSE WE EAT APPLES YOU IDIOTS!  WE DON'T SAY "AS AMERICAN AS APPLE PIE" FOR NOTHING!!!  But we eat applesauce with lunch or dinner.  As a side dish.  Yeah, crazy.  Like a fox.

Slowly I've learned that all the good food in Denmark is considered a dessert and you can only eat it after dinner.  Pancakes, æbleskiver, applesauce, pastries (like the ones Americans call "danishes"), and anything with fruit in it (other than yogurt, but only if the yogurt comes with the fruit already in it, if you add fruit, you may be making a dessert).  I often see Danes eating oranges as a dessert and to me, that's just balmy.  But then I've seen Danes eat potato chips (crisps to the Brits) as a side dish at dinner, along side a fine piece of roasted pork loin.  Yes, potato chips/crisps counted as the "vegetable" - not that all Danes see the point of having a vegetable with a meal.  Sometimes it's like the bloody Atkins diet around here.

So I've learned not to question the ways of the natives (the answer is always "but that's how we do it in Denmark" so really, why bother asking any more) which makes figuring out the driving laws sometimes a bit more complicated.  Especially when you hear either "garble garble garble garble" or you know, the wrong damn word that just happens to sound EXACTLY the same as another word.

At any rate, I'm going to make sure that I have my headlights on at all times, just in case of trains or fog (and the numbers two and twelve which ALSO happen to sound the same as "train") AND I'm going to start carrying spare teddy bears because YOU CAN'T BE TOO CAREFUL in residential areas.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Food hits and misses

Maybe it's because I'm pregnant, but I have been taking it really personally when a recipe just does not work out.

Tears and temper tantrums, people.

Tears because I've ruined, RUINED, a meal.  Temper tantrums because, dammit, the DB is going to eat what I've served and STOP COMPLAINING because I'M PREGNANT you ASS, MAKE YOUR OWN FOOD IF THIS IS NOT UP TO PAR!!

Last night I made pancakes (part of living in another country that totally obsesses about traditions means that you tend to suddenly develop a passion for your own and Shrove Tuesday is Pancake Tuesday, Episcopalians and Anglicans will totally back me up here).  The pancakes were FINE.  It's just... well, it's not MY fault that maple syrup comes in such little jars here.  And can only be purchased at certain stores.  When they happen to have it in stock.  And that we also ran out of jam.  But you know what?  HONEY works pretty damn good.  And it's also not my fault if you are not completely stuffed after eating four plate sized pancakes because that's a damn lot of pancakes y'all.  And that we ran out of orange juice because I've developed a NEED for more vitamin C.  But, HEY ISN'T IT GREAT THAT YOU CAN TOTALLY MICROWAVE RISOTTO!!??  And 11 year old Late Harvest Chardonnay isn't THAT crazy of a pairing.  Sorry that we were out of Champagne.

Okay, it wasn't my best meal ever.  It was also NOT the worst.

Previously, in the Archaeogoddess kitchen, were several weeks of When-will-I-find-a-good-chicken-masala-recipe-and-stop-trying-to-killing-us-all.

First there was All Recipes' Chicken Tikka Masala with over 1,200 reviews and 4 1/2 stars - almost 26,000 people have saved this recipe!!  So of course I'm going to make it and slavishly stick to the recipe - it's obviously Just That Good.  Note to self (and everyone else) - READ THE REVIEWS FIRST!  Because they will tell you, right off the bat, to leave out ALL THE SALT.  This recipe calls for 4 teaspoons of salt in the marinade and 3 teaspoons of salt in the sauce itself.  Even if you reduce the salt by a bit IT STILL COMES OUT WICKED SALTY.  In fact, it's diarrhea-inducing salty.  So no more than 1/4 tsp in the marinade and 1/4 tsp in the sauce!!  When we're braver we'll try this one again.  Without the salt.

Then there was a Chicken Masala recipe that I'm not going to link to.  But know this: if a masala recipe has ONLY curry and turmeric as spices then it is NOT A MASALA.  It's a CURRY and a damn bland one at that.  Perfect for Danish palates (the DB insisted it wasn't bad) but simply horrible if you've, you know, ever actually eaten Indian food at an Indian restaurant and expect your food to taste of something other than yellow.  I flat out refused to eat the leftovers of this one.

So it was with great relief when I made a FANTASTIC meal the other night.  Sauteed mushrooms, bacon and lentils - OH MY!  This recipe was still good even though I brilliantly forgot to buy lemons and had to use the fake lemon juice I keep in the fridge for emergencies and instant-buttermilk-making.  I also made a few adjustments of my own.

  • I fry up bacon bits by cutting the bacon into chuncks and THEN frying it, this sometimes results in bacon clumps rather than bits, but you know what, I'm okay with that
  • I dumped the bacon clumps and the rendered fat and everything into the lentils before serving
  • I mixed the parsley into the lentils before serving (oh and it wasn't flat leaf parsley... I can't get FLAT leaf parsley right now, so EXCUSE ME recipe tyrants!)
  • I minced the garlic and then left it in because who the hell removes GARLIC from a dish??  Hell, next time I may add MORE garlic
  • I served the mix over a bed of mixed greens and then drizzled olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice over the whole shebang and it was AWESOME
  • I served this with a side of cornbread as one reviewer suggested and that was a FANTASTIC pairing for some strange reason
Reheating the left overs was a snap - just dump it in a pan and re-fry it for a bit.  Or turn the heat down low and put a lid on it.  You should probably not do what I did which was to put a lid on it and turn the heat to HIGH because "oh, that'll make it heat up faster" but even slightly, uh, burnt, it STILL tasted really good.

I had gobs of mushrooms left over, because, well, I did, okay?  And so I whipped up a Jamie Oliver mushroom risotto.  I have a real love-hate relationship with Mr. Oliver.  On one hand, he turns out a great dish and is all about getting people to eat better.  On the other hand, I do NOT live somewhere with a weekly farmers market with veggies from around the world, nor do I live near a fish mongers, nor does my local butcher know anything about the weird cuts of meat you, Essex boy, are constantly suggesting.  So it is NOT in fact, much cheaper to eat the Hipster Oliver Way because I don't live in LONDON, nor am I Upper Middle Class, so I's po' and in order to make your fine food, J.O., I have become the Queen of Substitutions.

  • Grød ris instead of that fancy Aborio stuff, they are both short grained rices with a hefty price difference
  • used button mushrooms - sorry dude, but that's what I had, judge me and I'll give you a hair cut with my vegetable peeler
  • dried thyme and fresh curly leaf parsley CAUSE THAT'S HOW I ROLL
  • still forgetting to buy lemons... used bottled lemon juice... now out of lemon juice AND HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO MAKE BISCUITS NOW??
And you know what?  It still tasted good.  And when the DB microwaved it last night to fluff out his pancake-for-dinner meal, he enjoyed it!  HA!  *fist pump*

Monday, March 07, 2011

Party like it's... wait, what year is it again??

The theme song for this post is brought to you by Jimi Hendrix.

So I'm taking driver's ed (because 16 years of exceptional driving experience in a variety of weather, countries, and vehicles and a spotless record means NOTHING to Denmark) and trying to memorize foreign vocabulary and listening to Nirvana Unplugged.

Suddenly it's like 1994 around here.

Except I do not remember being nine months pregnant in high school.  In fact, I think I weighed about half of what I currently weigh.  And rocked green corduroy pants, orange flannel and t-shirts with such witty sayings as "Cat Wants In/Cat Wants Out" with associated cartoon.  I suppose I could still wear such things and claim I was being "ironic" and then get shot for being a hipster.  Worse things could happen.  I could be trying to wear leggings and over-sized sweaters with large belts...

Only I'm struggling with the NemID nonsense (hey, got the DB at home for a few hours, best try to make use of his expansive Danish vocabulary while I can) and the circle of ridiculousness is right out of 1984.

I feel like I should be dancing the Time Warp... but that takes me back to 1975 and I wasn't actually BORN then. (If you are confused about this "Time Warp" thing, click on the link.  Not that you'll understand better afterwards, because The Rocky Horror Picture Show never did make any sense, but hey Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick [you may remember him as the Mayor in "Spin City" - oh yeah, THAT GUY] and Tim Curry in women's underwear!)

And I swear I keep letting the cat IN but not OUT, leading me to ponder the existence of some spacial-temporal anomaly which is magically letting the cat out and sucking digital signatures out of my computer (or wherever digital signatures are kept - I suspect in Pia Kjærsgaard's underwear drawer) faster than the Borgerservice can type them in.

Oh for the good old days, when you immigrated by showing up in some port, being checked for lice and TB and then released to the hounds.  Or even better, when you showed up in some port and stuck swords and axes into the natives until they paid you to stick swords and axes into someone else, usually their neighbor.  Remind me to change my ring tone to "Flight of the Valkyries" and to pick up a horned helmet from the museum gift shop before I take my driver's test.

Hvad skal du særlig opmærksom til, bitches?
(What should you pay particular attention to, oh driver's education student?)

Friday, March 04, 2011

What Not To Say To a Pregnant Woman

These are the ones I personally hate hearing…

1. Enjoy eating everything you want!
Ha. Ha ha.  Hahahahahahaha!  Obviously you’ve never been pregnant.  The list of food that you MUST NOT EAT or you will KILL YOUR BABY is long and pretty much includes something you absolutely love.
  • Raw or undercooked meat (kiss Carpaccio and sushi good-bye and expect to order all your steaks and hamburgers “well done” *spit*)
  • Deli meat - including hot dogs (kiss lunch goodbye)
  • Fish with mercury or exposed to environmental pollutants (i.e. any fish that once swam in an ocean, lake, or river)
  • Smoked fish (like there was any fish left for you to eat anyway)
  • Raw or undercooked shellfish (cooking shellfish doesn’t prevent algae-based bacteria from proliferating, so most of the time they ask you to just avoid shellfish entirely… just in case)
  • Raw or undercooked eggs (this includes fried eggs, over-easy eggs, soft-boiled eggs, poached eggs, and scrambled eggs that aren’t completely dry and horrid)
  • Soft cheeses (except American cheese, which isn’t actually cheese)
  • Pate (actually anything with liver in it, including, surprisingly enough, liver)
  • Anything with caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Vitamin A - you need it every other day but too much will KILL YOUR BABY
  • Cut your fat by 30%
  • Cut your cholesterol
  • Make sure you get enough fat and cholesterol because you need them to absorb the vitamins
  • You must still get lots of folic acid, calcium, and iron and you can’t get enough of it by eating because we’ve cut all the main sources of vitamins and minerals out of your diet - so take big fat vitamins!

So exactly how am I supposed to enjoy eating when everything I like to eat has been taken off the “acceptable” food list?  I have to read the packaging, obsess over food choices, and try to work a balanced diet around restrictions and availability…

Or you know, throw my hands up in the air and ask: what the hell are French, Italian and Japanese women eating, then? And then eat whatever I want.

The corollary to #1 is: don’t tell me what I shouldn’t eat, because I will fucking cut you, bitch.

2. Enjoy sleeping while you can, because you’ll miss it after the baby’s born.
WHO IS SLEEPING NOW??  FIND ME THE COMFORTABLY SLEEPING PREGNANT WOMAN!!  Multiple trips to the bathroom (and getting out of bed is NO walk in the park), acid reflux, restless legs, cramps, Braxton-Hicks, kicking baby, rhinitis, numb hands, HUGE BELLY keeping me from rolling into any other position, yeah, I’m sleeping like a goddamned princess here. 

3. You’re not fat; you’re pregnant.
You did NOT just contradict a pregnant woman, did you?  DID YOU??  I’ve put on 50 lbs (25 kgs) in the last 9 months.   I can’t reach my feet.  I can’t even SEE my feet.  I’ve out grown all my normal clothes and half of my maternity wear.  If I wanted to wear a skirt, I’d need to rub talcum powder between my thighs.  They stick and won’t rub past each other, thus limiting my ability to actually move myself without the obviously pregnant waddle.  I get winded walking up the gentlest incline; so don’t even talk to me about stairs.  My hips POP OUT OF ALIGNMENT and my knees have a nasty tendency to give when I squat.  I’m SO SORRY if I’m offending the sensibilities of the fat people (“oh, *sob* poor us, we’re fat, you have no right to be calling yourself fat, you don’t understand what it’s like to be fat”) but I bet you put on those extra pounds SLOWLY, over time, giving your muscles, bones, and closet time to adjust for inflation and I bet your fat doesn’t kick you in the middle of the night either.

The proper response to a pregnant woman who bemoans her fatness is to say “thankfully it’s mostly baby and water, so this too shall pass.”  Because what a fat pregnant woman needs to hear is validation of her feelings and a reminder that it’s temporary.  Telling us we look great is also nice, even if we know you're lying.

4. In English “Was it planned?” or in Danish “Er du glæde for det?” (are you happy about it)
No, the motherfucking Archangel Gabriel came to me and told me God raped me in the night and implanted the Savior of all Mankind, that he’ll take on the sins of the world and be sacrificed by being nailed to a goddamned tree all because he told people to get along with one another and pay their damn taxes because the Romans gave us roads, peace, and hygiene.  And I for one am Quite Pissed Off About It.

Seriously people - dumbest questions EVER.  Everyone is going to say “yes” no matter what and now the pregnant chick is wondering what kind of cheap whore do you take her for.  THANKS A LOT!

5. Are you still pregnant?
No, I had the baby and now I’m just wearing a pillow around my middle for shits and grins. 

6. Are you getting exercise? You should be exercising.  [Insert discussion of the benefits of exercise and what will happen to me if I don’t.]
So remember the part where my hips pop out of alignment?  And my knees have gone… well, they’ve gone somewhere and they left no forwarding address, although I think it was Fiji.  For all I know they took my feet, I haven’t seen them in a while either.  Point being, exercise is limited to standing up, getting up from lying down (both are gargantuan achievements, y’all), and going up the stairs.  Spend all day on my feet, walking and moving about and I’ll be flat on my back in tears by 8 pm.  I was fine until about 10 lbs ago.  At that point my weight got ahead of my ability to build new muscles and the muscles I have are pretty taxed.  How about this, then, I’m still moving.  How’s that for ya?  Would you like to tell me how many poops I should be doing a day too?

7. You can’t do X with a baby!!
Oh, damn, now you’ve done it.  Like waving a red flag in front of a bull.  You’ve done told me I can’t do something.  Now I have to do it to prove you wrong.  Trying to appeal to my husband to “make me see sense” is not going to help.  He’s probably going to start plotting how we can accomplish X as soon as humanly possible. 

8. How are you feeling?
I know I’m being slightly bitchy here.  I can’t say that I particularly “hate” this question; it’s just that I get asked it so many times a day.  And the answer is: I feel like crap.  “But you look great!” or “[Insert unsolicited advice]” follows and then I’m stuck standing or sitting while the person with the great intentions tries to make me feel better.  You wanna make me feel better?  Carry this damn thing for me while I go take a nap, some asshole has been telling me I should be getting my rest now before the baby comes.

9. Once you are holding that precious baby in your arms you will totally forget how miserable you were.
That may be.  HOWEVER, I’m pregnant NOW.  I’m not holding a baby, I’m holding my breath because I think I may belch, fart, and possibly dribble a bit of GOD KNOWS WHAT NOW into my panties in the next 30 seconds.  Yes, some day we may all look back on this and laugh… but “some day” is not happening fast enough for me.

10. [In response to seeing someone trying to manage a screaming child] And that’s what you have to look forward to!
OH YAY!  THAT’S WHY WE GOT OURSELVES INTO THIS!!  You know what, just go away.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Thoughts from the left field...

So taking a quick break from pregnancy madness...

Yes, I'm still pregnant.  Please stop asking me that!

I'm at 37 weeks.

Why, thank you, I also think I'm huge.

No, it's not twins.

Yes, I'm aware I could go 2 weeks over.

Thanks for pointing out that I look amazing.  Though your shock that I'm still pregnant kinda takes the joy out of your observation.  Can we talk about something else now?  'K thanks.

One of my favorite "movies" is actually the mini-series "Band of Brothers."  I have a mild to medium sized obsession with the European theatre of war in WWII and I don't know if you remember me talking about it a bit WAAAAAY back in 2009 in this post, which I just re-read and found very funny, if I do say so m'self, so if you want to wander off and give it a good read, just go on ahead and then come back.    Or not.  No pressure.

Anywaaaaay, DR1 is showing "The Pacific" right now.  It's not as good as "Band of Brothers" which is more documentary feeling and includes interviews with the guys who really had been there and done that, but it's good for showing how freaking awful the Pacific theatre of war really was.  And seriously, it was AWFUL.  Why we decided to go back to fight in the tropics two more times in the twentieth century is beyond me...  'Course now it's the "in" thing to be fighting in the desert.  Can we swap to arctic battles, a la Hoth for a while, just to mix it up some?  It would give our submarine captains something to do, at any rate.

Both of my grandfathers served in the Pacific.  As far as I know, neither were in Guadalcanal or Midway or Iwo Jima.  But neither really talked about their experiences very much and we kids were not encouraged to ask either.  Now it's too late because they've both passed away... but I also don't think I'd feel comfortable asking them about something that might have been repressed for a reason.  Towards the end, one of my grandfathers did randomly start telling stories about the war, about arresting Japanese soldiers hidden in caves, but it was all a bit garbled, Gramps being a bit off by that stage.

But the point being, I had relatives that served.  (My dad, for the record, was drafted but got a medical discharge, for which we are all eternally grateful.  My dad and Vietnam would just not have got on well, I'm sure of it.)  And so I asked my DB what his grandparents were doing, you know, while living under the Nazi thumb and all.

The answer: nothing.  Just doing their thing.  Making shoes and whatever the other one did (totally blanked on that one, my bad).  And I had a bit of a mind-boggle.  For the record: there were Danes who sabotaged the train tracks and kept goods from supplying the German army, who made their way to England to volunteer for the war, who smuggled Jews to Sweden, who resisted in various ways - who were right and proper heroes.  But there were far more who didn't really do anything other than what they had been doing before the war.  Only now with more Nazis.

Back to the mind-boggle.

Part of my historical narrative or what-have-you growing up was that Europe totally sucked in WWII and we Americans had to come in and pull everyone's butts out of the fire.  But then you "get educated" and learn that really, America helped a great deal, but we should downplay that bit and spend some time pointing out the plucky Brits, daring French, and stalwart Belgians who were a huge part of the victory.   Oh, and we should sort of tip our hats to the Russians, but only after pointing out that Stalin was a big dick and we hate him lots, the commie bastard, but thanks for distracting Hitler even if it meant shooting your own people IN THE BACK, jerk.  And now it's a full pendulum swing back again - my grandparents were getting shot at so yours could MAKE SHOES??  *boggle*

The DB is mighty embarrassed, to tell the truth.  We had a good long discussion about the role of the military in DK and how it is perceived by the average Dane (an embarrassment and something only homicidal freaks do).  My husband was one of the "lucky" few to get drafted and he hated his boot camp and opted for the civil service as fast as he could.  Strangely enough, it's all the American war dramas he's watched that have given him a different view of the military in Denmark.  (Lord knows his boot camp was a PR disaster.  He was trained "in case someone invaded Denmark."  Who's going to invade Denmark, the DB asked.  "Never you mind!" shouted the drill sergeant, "now go crawl in the mud with your out-dated rifle!")  He's still pretty embarrassed by the Danish Military Might, it's small and managed to get involved in the wrong wars, but now he sees it more as a tool that can be used for good, if the higher ups weren't a bunch of asshats.  He wonders what he would have done if he'd lived in Denmark in WWII.  He also wonders what it would be like to live somewhere were the military is a source of nationalist (although my conservative friends would prefer me to say "patriotic") pride and what would it be like to have all of your friends signing up to go off to war.  (He'd like to think that he would have resist if he lived in DK, but isn't sure he'd have known what to do, but is fairly confident he would have signed up with his friends if he'd lived in the US.)

Me, I have a hard time imagining what it would be like to *not* have seen pictures of my grandfathers in uniform.  Just about everyone I know from the US had at least one relative who has served in one war (or "armed conflict") or another.  My hometown newspaper covers deployments, medals, and graduations of "local" troops.  Conversely, I imagine that it was a lot easier in Denmark to protest the war in Afghanistan and Iraq than it was in the US (to all those assholes who rolled down their windows to yell at us to get behind the Commander and Chief, I just wanna say I TOLD YOU SO! *pbth*).  Yeah, you should have tried to be a pacifist in New England after 9/11 - that was not exactly easy, y'all.  So glad that thousands of people had to die before I was proved right.  *Sigh*

Like many Americans, I'm torn between the support I have for the men and women who voluntarily sign up to put their lives on the line for a noble concept and the disgust I have for the men and women who send those brave souls into pointless conflicts.  I'm as proud of my grandfathers and their generation for going to war as I am of those who fought to bring our troops home from Vietnam.  I will carry placards and partake in sit-ins to promote peace, but I will totally blow your fucking head off if you lay a hand on my family.

It's not Veterans Day, or Memorial Day, or the 5th of May (Denmark's liberation day) - but go on, hug a veteran.  You know you want to.