You can stop screaming.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:46 pm

We just missed it, but luckily for the peoples of Norway, Munch’s The Scream is back in police custody.

I would have liked to have seen it, but really, we saw plenty of great art in Norway. Also, I’ve never understood the fascination with seeing extremely famous works of art. You get there and think, “Yep, that’s pretty much what I thought it would look like.” Exceptions include Picasso’s Guernica and Michelangelo’s David, which are impressive not only for their artistry but for their sheer size.

Everybody talks about the Mona Lisa being a let-down, and I agree that it is. Also not terribly impressive was Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not hating on the paintings. They’re very good. It’s just that there’s so much great art out there that I don’t know what it looks like yet, it’s more fun for me see things for the first time.

Oh wait, Botticelli’s stuff (I’m thinking of Venus Rising in particular) is also really great in person. It’s much brighter and more youthful and lively than it seems in a textbook or on that link that you may or may not have clicked just now.

I’m very happy for Norway. Stealing paintings is just plain rude. The joy of owning art is from having it out so you can enjoy it, but if it’s both really famous and stolen, you can’t exactly put it in your living room. Sooner or later the UPS guy is going to catch a glimpse of it and rat you out.


Foods to eat

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:27 pm

My brain feels shriveled up today. In lieu of anything else, I’ll do an archive check.

Aw, man! A year ago today, the bosses at work bought everybody ice cream to congratulate us on getting through the tough time at the beginning of the semester. How come they didn’t do that today?

I guess they bought us pizza last Friday for the same reason. Still, ice cream sounds good.

There’s been a lot of talk in the food blogging community lately about “10 things to eat before you die.” I haven’t assembled such a list myself yet, but the “50 things to eat before you die” published by the BBC is dumb. There are all kinds of easy things on that. It’s hardly a challenge at all. I think that if I can buy it at a Hy-Vee any day of the year in Iowa, it’s not worthy of making that kind of list. It’s also strange that totally unusual stuff is just stuck in the list in between things that are very easy to acquire.
1. Fresh fish (duh)
2. Lobster (duh)
3. Steak (duh)
4. Thai food (duh)
5. Chinese food (duh)
6. Ice cream (super-duh)
7. Pizza (also super-duh)
8. Crab (duh)
9. Curry (duh)
10. Prawns (duh)
11. Moreton Bay bugs (what? It’s actually a crustacean)
12. Clam chowder (duh)
13. Barbecues (super-duh; they didn’t even approach regional stylings)
14. Pancakes (super-duh)
15. Pasta (super-duh)
16. Mussels (duh)
17. Cheesecake (super-duh)
18. Lamb (I won’t say duh here, because it’s really not all that popular, at least in the U.S.)
19. Cream tea (again, no duh required, but still not very exotic or challenging)
20. Alligator (on every kitschy menu in Florida)
21. Oysters
22. Kangaroo (I probably could have had this in Australia, but I never did)
23. Chocolate (never heard of it)
24. Sandwiches (??)
25. Greek food (I like how it’s all shrunken down into one item; see also Thai and Chinese foods)
26. Burgers
27. Mexican food (duh; see Greek food)
28. Squid
29. American diner breakfast
30. Salmon
31. Venison
32. Guinea pig (I’ve never eaten a hamster either)
33. Shark (I actually can’t remember if I’ve ever had this; I’m going to count it because I’ve had sharkfin soup)
34. Sushi
35. Paella
36. Barramundi (an Australian predatory game fish)
37. Reindeer (apparently they have it a lot in Norway, but I don’t think we ever got any)
38. Kebab
39. Scallops
40. Australian meat pie (is this the same as a British meat pie? I’ve had those.)
41. Mango
42. Durian fruit (I’ve seen it, but never eaten it. I’ve heard it’s kind of gross.)
43. Octopus
44. Ribs
45. Roast beef
46. Tapas
47. Jerk chicken/pork
48. Haggis (I think I could have gotten it in Ireland, but I never did)
49. Caviar
50. Cornish pasty

Here are some things that are candidates for my list:

1. Ferrán Adriá’s scientific creations at El Bulli:  Adriá is the godfather of the food-as-science-as-food trend.  I’ve eaten at the restaurants of some of his disciples (Berasategui, Achatz), but never at his home base near Barcelona.

2. Hot chocolate in the winter in the Swiss or Italian alps.  I bet that would be really freaking good.

3. Turducken.  It sounds gross, but I should probably try it before I pass judgment.

4. Tripe.  See above.


All Along the Watchtower

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:39 pm

Denny got the new Bob Dylan album today, which he was very excited about.  I picked up a DVD of the Pixies doing a live acoustic set in Newport, Rhode Island.  It was a banner day for us in legal music acquisition.

It is downright chilly out.  Yesterday evening I went out for a run, and I had to wear long exercise pants and a t-shirt.  The neighbors probably appreciated the reprieve from my usual uniform of a ratty old sports bra and baggy, faded shorts.  I realize that there is more fashionable exercise wear out there, but I have a hard time justifying spending money on something that’s just going to get soaked in stinky sweat.

Speaking of which, have you ever noticed that outdoor sweat smells worse than indoor sweat?  It gets that weird wind smell to it.  I’ve also heard that fear sweat smells bad, but I’ve never noticed that in particular.  Maybe I’ve never been deeply frightened and sweaty at the same time.


Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:27 pm

I would like to publicly thank They Might Be Giants for making a super-awesome series of Dunkin’ Donuts ads, specifically this one.

Also, I would like to thank them for playing the song “She’s An Angel” when I saw them at the IMU that time a bunch of years ago, because even though it’s not one of their most popular songs, it’s my all-time favorite and I used to listen to it on my walkman during long car trips when I was a teenager and mentally direct music videos to it.

Ancient artifact

Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:30 pm

Yesterday (August 27, 2006) Denny ripped up some carpet in the gross room in our basement.  The goal is to put down some nice flooring (possibly bamboo, if he gets his dearest wish) and turn it into a usable office, instead of a gross storage room.

Under the carpet, he found a copy of the Iowa City Press Citizen from—get this—August 27, 1968.  It’s pretty weird that it was the same date as yesterday.  In the news:  people were all hopped up about the Democratic National Convention, women were interested in supporting Bobby Kennedy, and several Iowans died in Vietnam.

Also, Penney’s had ladies’ underwear on sale, and tape recorders cost more than they do now.

Once Denny lays down the flooring, he plans to replace the old newspaper and put down one of the current date, unless that would make the flooring not stick or something.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:16 pm

Holy crap.

This weekend I baked a peach pie (the remaining half of which is in the fridge), made sufficient pesto to serve us for 15 pesto-centric meals, and there’s about a gallon of tomato sauce simmering on the stove right now.  I made only a small dent in the tomato crop, though.  It looks like our coworkers are going to get some tomatoes foisted on them.
I’m tired.  I hope nobody expects me to cook dinner.


How to make a pretty pie? And where to go after eating it?

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:41 pm

On special request from my husband, who does all kinds of nice things for me like washing, drying, and folding all the clothes that I throw on the floor and all the yardwork, I am going to bake him a peach pie this weekend.

I hope it turns out pretty.  My pies always taste good, and the Cooks Illustrated piecrust recipe has never failed me, but I’m not very good at crimping the edges beautifully.  I usually use the fork tines method, which isn’t quite as nice-looking.  Does anybody have any great tips on how to make the edges of a pie crust look pretty?

Also, I’m having fun trying to decide where DC and I should go on our almost-free flight to Europe.  It turns out that, unless we get a really amazing base ticket price, it won’t be completely free, because there’s a $230 fuel surcharge per ticket, plus $100 or so in taxes.  That eats up a decent chunk of our vouchers.  Oh well; it’s still a great deal.

I’m leaning toward Italy, because Denny’s never been there and we just finished that Italian wine class and everything.  Plus I was wanting to go there this year, but the Norway thing came up so we did that instead.

Here are the non-Italy possibilities, based on SAS’s flight schedule:

  • Denmark:  I’ve never really considered going here before.  Is it fun?  This seems to be one of the cheapest options; our vouchers would almost completely cover it.
  • Finland:  See Denmark
  • Sweden:  Having spent a fair amount of time in the Stockholm airport, I have a positive impression of Sweden.  It seems spacious and pleasant.
  • Belgium:  Home of the pomme frite!  I love those almost enough to make a pilgrimage for them.
  • Croatia:  We were thinking of going to Dubrovnik in earlier fantasies.  It looks amazing.
  • Czech Republic:  I’ve heard Prague is getting a little played-out as the hipster capital of Europe.  True?  False?  Nevermind, it’s too expensive on SAS anyway.
  • Biarritz, France:  Super-close to the amazing San Sebastian, Spain, where crazy Denny has never been.
  • Berlin, Germany:  I’ve never had much of a desire to go to Germany, but I did enjoy Cabaret, so maybe I would like Berlin.  I hate Nazis, though, and they were in Cabaret.
  • Greece:  The Greek islands look beautiful, but I’ve also heard bad things about Athens.  I’m not sure Greece has a whole lot to offer that Italy doesn’t.  Plus it’s pricy on SAS.
  • Luxembourg:  I have absolutely no opinion of Luxembourg.  None.
  • Netherlands:  I’ve been through the Amsterdam airport so many times (I usually fly NWA/KLM) that it’s kind of weird that I’ve never actually seen the country.  This could be my big chance.
  • Portugal:  Awesome, but we were just there a year or two ago.  Oooh, plus it’s really expensive.
  • Spain:  My all-time favorite destination in Europe, plus I have a friend in Barcelona.  This is a good chance to go somewhere new, though.  But dang, it’s cheap!  The vouchers would almost completely cover it.
  • Switzerland:  I’ve never seriously considered it, but I’ve heard great reviews.

OK, who has opinions?  If you had a free or almost-free ticket to Europe, which would you choose?


Happy face

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:40 pm

Have you ever smiled so hard that you hear blood rushing in your ears because your face is so excited? That happened to me.

Sometimes I get worked up over the silliest things.

(No, it’s nothing big.  I was just doing some mental travel planning.)


If you want to be happy for the rest of your life…

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:06 pm

I sure hope my parents don’t read this article from Forbes that warns that it’s a bad idea to marry a woman with a career. Their 30-year marriage, 25 years of which my mom has spent as a business owner, will surely crumble.

UPDATE:  as map so helpfully pointed out in the comments, Forbes pulled the article.  Seems like an editor could have done that before it was ever published.

Repeat of 8-ball

Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:36 pm

Because my day is too crazy busy to compose anything original, I’m going to repeat the iTunes Magic 8-Ball game. It’s fun and easy, that’s why. To sum up the rules: put iTunes on shuffle, then answer the questions with the song titles that come up as you randomly progress through music. The results will shock you or possibly make you think they are entirely irrelevant.

How does the world see me? “That’s Not Me,” Beach Boys (who do they think it is, then?)
Will I have a happy life? “My Baby Got Sauce,” G Love and Special Sauce (this seems positive. It’s a fun song.)
What do my friends think of me? “Spanish Bombs,” the Clash (I am not a violent girl.)
Do people secretly lust after me? “Dance on Vaseline,” David Byrne (gross)
How can I make myself happy? “Start Me Up,” Rolling Stones (Seems logical.)
What should I do with my life? “Bus to Beelzebubt,” Soul Coughing (Oookay.)
Will I ever have children? “Birds Vs. Worms,” Modest Mouse (Baby birds? Baby worms?)
What is some good advice for me? “Praise You,” Fatboy Slim (I think you are the greatest, my readers!)
How will I be remembered? “Evil Hearted You,” the Pixies (I’m really trying to cut down on the evil)
What is my signature dancing song? “The Stranger Song,” Leonard Cohen
(pretty, but not so good for dancing)
What is my current theme song? “Gunshy,” Liz Phair (It’s true that I’m shy of guns)
What song will play at my funeral? “Ship Song,” Concrete Blonde version (Beautiful song. Good choice.)
What type of men/women do you like? “Girls,” Beastie Boys (hah! Don’t tell Denny!)
What is your day going to be like? “Lorelei,” the Pogues (My day will be a mythic ghosty type that makes sailors die. No it won’t. Is that who Lorelei was?)


LaToya Clarke, R.I.P.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:15 pm

LaToya is my Powerbook.  She and I had some good times together, but they may be over.
Denny did some brave rescue attempts, including running disk utility to look for repairs and doing a clean install of the OS, but I’m afraid it was for naught.  I had my most important stuff backed up, and Denny was able to do a backup of the less important stuff too, so it’s not a disaster, just an inconvenience.  I’m going to mess around with the RAM a little bit as a last-ditch effort, but if that doesn’t work, I guess I’ll be MacBook shopping.

Not *so* bad, but not *so* good either.  I’m just really glad I have my data.


Math face

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:47 am

Lest you think this entire day was going to be a downer, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to see that Gene Simmons knows how to make the Less Than face too.

Only I think his might actually be Greater Than.  Whatever.  Anybody who can make math with his face is a friend of mine, even though I don’t like how rude he was on that NPR interview a while back.

Stupid Monday which is a piece of crap

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:39 am

We had a very nice weekend.  My parents came to town and we celebrated our first anniversary and their 30th; I fear we’ll never catch up at this rate.  We had good food and drink and fun.  Saturday we were thinking about going to the State Fair, but we decided against it, since we haven’t had a full weekend at home since we got back from Norway and needed the recovery time.  We just bummed around the house, did various household tasks, and went to the movies.  Yesterday we bummed around some more and did more household tasks, including cooking up the zucchini blossoms I bought at the Farmers Market on Saturday.  In the evening, we got together with my friend Mose and met his girlfriend Anaïs, who are headed back to Barcelona soon.

That nice weekend makes Monday all the more bleak.  I woke up with a swollen gum, which according to my dentist just Happens Sometimes and there’s nothing I can do about it.  It’s painful and annoying.  I thought about calling in sick today, but I didn’t want to leave my coworkers without my help.  City High is back in session, which makes the drive to work take twice as long with five times as many new drivers being reckless.  Work is going to be crazy all week, and not crazy like last week where there were a lot of friendly, relaxed people who were planning ahead and needed help.  This week will be the procrastinators who waited until the actual first day of classes to work on their websites, and they’ll be irritable when they find out that we can’t just wave a magic wand and have everything immediately perfect.  Certain processes take up to 2 days.  It was in all the communications you’ve received.  Deal with it.

Worst of all, I fear my beloved Powerbook is toast.  I still have a few more tricks I want to try (possibly including a data backup and then a clean install of the OS), but it’s not looking good.  It’s been kernel panicking and forcing reboot before it even gets fully started up.  I don’t know why, because I haven’t made any changes lately.  The only thing I can pin down is that it got banged around a bit in an airplane last month, but I hadn’t seen any problems until this weekend.  I’ve been halfway shopping for a MacBook anyway, but it would have been nice to get Norway paid off and possibly a new water heater before I drop a couple grand on personal computing.

Grump grump grump.


People and the things they do

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:50 am

I’ve been hearing lately about some of the crappy things people do to each other.  In a relationships forum I read, people were talking about some of the seriously outdated double standards some men still hold women to.  It blew my mind, really, that people still think that way, maybe because none of my male friends have those attitudes.

Then my coworker Jack was talking about some of the terrible things that can happen to kids with neglectful parents (though, interestingly, he came down on the side of crack rather than alcohol in a “what damages fetuses less” discussion.  I do not believe he meant this as a suggestion, so please don’t take it as such.).  I’m really glad all the parents I know are thoughtful, caring people who, despite occasional challenges, are trying to do right by their children.

It’s important to surround yourself with people you admire, I think.  How else are you going to improve if you don’t have good influences?  But on the other hand, it’s easy to get insulated and forget about all the people out there who are really troubled.  I certainly don’t run into them much in my job; university professors, by and large, don’t have meth problems (though I’ve met a few whom I think are certifiably insane, whether drug-related or not).  Public school teachers seem to deal with the brunt of this, and probably other professions too, but I hear about public school problems through some teachers I know, including Denny’s mom.

It’s such a weird class problem.  Even though we have this mythology in the U.S. that even the poorest person can ascend to great heights, I think it’s less and less true nowadays.  My first job out of college was really, really easy.  It was pretty much glorified data entry, but it paid really well considering how little work I actually did.  I learned how to type in elementary school.  I really did not need a college degree for that job, but if I didn’t have one, I couldn’t have applied because it was a requirement in the job description.  There’s no reason someone who didn’t go to college couldn’t have done that job.

I went to college straight out of high school not necessarily because I had any specific goals (I did have a major, but that had more to do with subject matter I was interested in than a career path), but because it’s what middle class kids do when they’re 18.  I really enjoyed college and grad school, and I absolutely support the idea of learning for the sake of learning, but I have to admit it’s a pretty bourgeois concept.  It seems like my life is the result of a series of small decisions, most of which can be tied back to class issues.  Had I grown up in a different family environment, things might have been very different. Weird.


Grumpy old lady

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:55 pm

Work is really busy.  I am a tigered puppy.  Tomorrow and next week promise more of the same, then it should quiet down some.  It’s tough to come back from vacation directly into the insane-est time of the year.  I plan to make up for it by slacking heartily once it slows down.

I know I’m really more of a townie than a student now, because I get very grumpy when the students come back.  Here are some of the things that suck about Iowa City in late August.

1.  Sorority girls and frat boys everywhere.  They get here early for rush, and boy is that nuts.  I remember when I started college, my parents were driving me to my dorm, and all I could see as we drove past all the sorority houses was girls in black dresses.  Everywhere.  Sometimes I get flashbacks.

2.  Confused parents driving the wrong way down one-way streets.  Iowa City has a few (5, I think, in the downtown area), and it can be downright scary to find yourself facing off with an SUV with Illinois plates.  Ay yi yi!

3.  General crowdedness and rowdiness of downtown establishments.  I can tell I’m getting very codgery because I wish people would just use their inside voices.  Plus I miss not having to wait for a table at a restaurant.

4.  Higher adult-to-baby ratio in town.  By that I mean literal babies, not students who have their parents call in when their Hawk IDs aren’t working (I actually had one of those this week).  I really enjoy spending a few minutes over lunch hour in the summer watching the cute little kids frolic in the fountain, and now they’ll be pushed out by rudes.

But…with no students there would be no faculty, and with no faculty there would be no Academic Technologies, and with no Academic Technologies I wouldn’t have a job or my nice husband Denny (since I met him at work).  Well, I might have a job, but it would be a different job.



Charley horses = ow ow ow

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:16 pm

Early this morning I was nearly awakened by a leg cramp, but I managed to have the wherewithall to flex it out before it fully gripped me.  Man, those are really awful.  Maybe it’s because I’ve just gotten back into running the last couple of days after a 2-week hiatus.  Maybe I haven’t been rehydrating properly.

Those of you who’ve given birth:  is being in labor kind of like having a charley horse of the uterus?  Is it that tight, painful, bound-up feeling?  I’ve heard it’s sort of like really bad menstrual cramps, which sounds manageable enough, but maybe I’ve never had menstrual cramps as bad as a charley horse or labor.

Tomato time

Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:52 pm

There’s not much that I love more than garden tomatoes, still warm from the sun.  I was telling Denny earlier that one of my favorite sensations is when I’m makin a caprese salad and I stir it with my hands, and I feel the cold fresh mozzarella and the warm tomatoes I just got from the backyard.

Is it gross that I stir it with my hands?  Spoons seem too rough.  Tomatoes are delicate.  I wash my hands before and after, with extra fervor because I got some really nice almond soap from Tait’s.

Last night we had panini capresi, which is a sandwich I invented that is basically a caprese salad on sourdough, with some grilled chicken and onions to round it out.  We had enough caprese salad left over that I had a delicious lunch of it.  It wasn’t quite as good cold out of the fridge as it was warm out of the panini maker, but still a lot better than one of my usual lunches.

To top it off, it’s peach season, and I had an excellent peach for dessert.  I should pick raspberries, too; there were a bunch on the giganto bush.

In non-produce-related news, our friend John was in town last night doing some recruiting and interviewing for his law firm.  For those of you who know them, his sister Shannon and her husband had a healthy baby girl, and John and Patty have learned that their fetus is a girl too.  I am thrilled for them beyond all thrilledness.


Outdoors, yet not

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:50 pm

It is too beautiful outside to be at work.  That’s what I say.

I did a very good job sleeping last night.  I stayed up til 10 and slept till 6:30.  Hurrah!

What to do tonight?  Do I even care about the Real World anymore?  Not particularly.  Maybe I’ll go for a run then read or write on the porch.  The cicadas are crazy this year.  Last night I could barely hear my audiobook outside because they were so loud.  There were a lot of interesting noises last night.  I really like running outdoors because so many things are always changing.  The best is the springtime when the flower trees are in blooms.  You really get a good whiff when you’re breathing hard and you run past them.  Just make sure to take your allergy meds.

Also, you know what’s weird?  It costs like $1800 USD to fly via SAS to Rome, yet only about $600 to fly to Milan.  The trip is the same number of legs.  What gives?


Jet lag

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:43 pm

I am kind of a weinie when it comes to getting my physical needs met.  If I’m hungry and I can’t eat immediately, I get very grumpy.  If I’m tired and I can’t go to sleep, I get very grumpy then too.

This is a problem when one is jet-lagged.

Yesterday afternoon/evening, DC and I were watching the last two episodes of Project Runway (and I’d like to give a woot woot to my man Michael!), and during a commercial break, we got into a bidding war about how late I had to force myself to stay awake.  Denny wanted me to wait till 10; I wanted to go to bed at 9:26.  I think we settled on 9:49 or something.

Then, around 7:30, I decided to read the book I hadn’t yet finished from the trip.  Then I remembered how much more comfortable my bed is than the chair I was sitting in.  Then, once in bed, I thought it seemed like a good idea to wash my face, brush my teeth, and put on my PJs.  I think I got about 2 pages read before I zonked out.

Naturally, I woke up at 4 a.m.  I tried not to pester Denny too much, who had done the smart thing and stayed up until 10, but I’m afraid I annoyed him.  I did some internetting and writing, but by the time I finished my 9:00 meeting, I felt like I should have already been halfway through a day.

Tonight I swear that I shall stay up till at least 9:26.   The weather’s so nice, I may go out for a run around 7:30 to try to get my adrenaline pumped up.


Home again, home again

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:24 am

After a rather arduous journey home due to super-tight security on trans-Atlantic flights and getting bumped off our flight to Chicago (though we were handsomely rewarded: we got travel vouchers that will probably mean a free or close-to-free flight to Europe for both of us), we’re finally finished with our trip.

It was really, really fun. I took almost 500 pictures, and Denny took more than that. I narrowed it down to my top 139, which I’ve posted here. For those of you who do not have patience with my copious shutter-clicks, here’s a brief-ish summary with some photos that best represent my memories of Norway. Click any photo for a larger version.


All the guidebooks begin with their descriptions of Oslo with some sort of apology: “Though it’s not one of Europe’s beautiful capitals, Oslo has a lot to offer,” or “Oslo may not inspire poetry, but give it a chance.” I find that tone to be inaccurate. Oslo is, as a capital, fairly young, so it’s not steeped in ancient stuff like some other European capitals are, but it’s just as nice. Oslo is very clean, spacious, and modern; it reminded me more of Minneapolis than London, but I like Minneapolis, so there you go. I really enjoyed the fact that there were lots of modern sculptures and fountains all over.


This island off the west coast is where Kaspar and Sabine’s wedding was. It was very rural and unspoiled, quite peaceful and nice. Their wedding was really fun; lots of people, including Kaspar, wore traditional Norwegian costumes that represent their home regions. The other guests were also really nice. We had a lot of fun talking to people from Norway, Sweden, France, and England. Cute kids abounded. Kaspar’s family was very warm and welcoming.


Bergen feels much older than Oslo, and much more typically European. It has a lively downtown area with a bustling fishmarket, nice parks and museums, and pedestrian-friendly, shop-lined streets. We rented an apartment there, and it was fun to shop at the fishmarket and local grocery stores and feel like one of the natives.

Oslo again

The highlight of the last day we spent in Oslo, for me, was the Vigeland sculpture park. Vigeland was a prolific sculptor who gifted a huge collection to the city of Oslo in exchange for free studio space and some assistants. His work is really captivating. The sculptures at the park are life-sized or larger-than-life humans interacting in all different stages of life. My favorite ones were of the cute babies. I could have spent hours and hours there, but we were tired because we’d already been to three museums that day.

Fun facts

The highlights of the wedding were the group sing-a-long and Kaspar’s dad’s speech. I guess it’s traditional in Norway for everyone to sing song parodies on the topic of the couple. Kaspar’s mom wrote really cute ones about Kaspar’s growing-up years. During Kaspar’s dad’s toast, he mentioned that as Kaspar was growing up, he spent a lot of time alone with his computer. Kaspar’s dad said he often asked himself, “Are we raising a nerrhhd?” Imagine him saying it in his Norse seaman’s voice. The consensus was that, nerdy or not, Kaspar turned out pretty well.

A lot of stuff comes in tubes in Norway. We saw shrimp paste, caviar, bacon paste, and salmon paste, all stored in what looked like toothpaste tubes. Rad.

On the train from Myrdal to Oslo, we witnessed a couple of German teenagers go through two entire cycles of cry-fighting and smoochy making-up. During the fighting parts, the girl would ask the guy for Kleenexes, so he’d hand her the pack, and she’d take one, then hurl the pack at him. We couldn’t figure out why she didn’t just keep it, unless she got satisfaction from beaning him with it. I think they were friends again by the end of the trip, but we got off at an earlier stop than they did, so we’ll never know for sure.

Norway was wonderful, and I think I could have stayed another week if my food budget were bigger. A burger and fries costs $10-$15 USD. Yikes. Grocery stores were more reasonable, so it was good when we were in the apartment and could do some cooking.

Denny’s new favorite food is Ballerina cookies.

I almost barfed on the flight from Stockholm to Newark, but I didn’t. It was very turbulent. The people at the Newark airport were very rude, but to be fair, I’m sure they had a very hard day what with all the extra security. It stood out in stark contrast to all the Scandinavians; every person we dealt with in the Oslo, Bergen and Stockholm airports was extremely nice, and they were under even tighter security restrictions.

Denny did a very good job driving us home from Chicago. He rocked out to the Rick Moranis country album and the Talking Heads. I dozed, waking up occasionally to adjust the iPod. And now…back to work tomorrow.

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