kareina: (fresh baked rolls)
One of our friends, K, who lives about 45 minutes south of Umeå, and so nearly 4 hours south of us, had decided she wanted to host a sit down dinner for New Year's Eve. She first considered a potluck, so that no one person would be overburdened with cooking. However, reading my friends' reports on their Thanksgiving dinners had me wanting to cook a traditional Turkey dinner just like I grew up with. When I suggested this she was enthusiastic, since she has seen them on TV, but never had a chance to try it. I couldn't do exactly what my family always did, since we normally roasted a twenty pound bird (one at Thanksgiving, and one at Christmas), and the largest I could find in the grocery store here was 5 kg. Therefore I bought two of them.

Since I would be cooking in someone else's kitchen a long way from home I did as much pre-cooking in advance as I could manage. I baked bread for the stuffing on the 27th so that it would have a bit of time to dry out before putting it in the birds, which I moved to the fridge to start thawing that afternoon. On the 29th I started the piecrust dough. This turned out to be the best crust I have made. My grandmother used to make hers with lard and (at least when doing a large batch, like for pasties) she would beat an egg with a spoon full of vinegar and enough water to make one cup of liquid for the dough. However, whilst that results in a good texture, I really don't like the flavour, since I don't like the taste of any pork products and I truly hate the smell and taste of vinegar. Therefor I used butter, as I always do (1 cup butter to 3 cups flour), but this time I used egg, lemon juice and water for the liquid, and it came out perfectly. I also started the refrigerator roll dough, browned up a mixture of ground moose meat, oats, egg and spices to be used for the stuffing, and mixed the spices with sugar for apple pie that day.

The next morning we packed up everything, and got on the road in the early afternoon, arriving at our destination at a good time to start baking the pies. We had brought with us our cool tool for peeling, coring, and slicing apples with an easy crank of a handle, and K. had gotten one for Christmas, so it took pretty much no time at all to get the apple pie ready, with two people slicing, me rolling out the dough, and a fourth nicely arranging the sliced fruit into the shell. I always do my apple pie the way my Aunt taught me—with the sliced apples piled up a good 4 inches higher than the top of the pie plate. This results in a nice domed crust, and the fruit cooks down to level with the rim during baking.

The pumpkin pie filling had been pre-cooked back in October, when the local store actually carried pumpkins (something that doesn’t usually happen in Sweden)—I had cut it up and roasted it then, and mashed the result and froze it. So on the day I needed only combine it with milk, cream, eggs, and spices. I had considered baking the rolls that evening, too. However, when I had consulted Google about turkey roasting times it was convinced that two small birds take way less time than one large one of the same mass. Therefore I decided to do the roll baking in the morning, before putting the turkey in the oven. (Can I just mention here how much I miss living in a house with two full sized ovens, so that one can bake rolls to be done at a similar time to the turkey, instead of hours in advance?)

Since I believed the estimates of timing I had read on line, I opted to sleep in on the 31st—instead of getting up to start the turkey around 06:00, I didn't even finish my morning sit ups till nearly 08:00, which meant I had the rolls out of the oven and the birds in by 09:30. This turned out to be too late for our originally planned eating time of 14:00. However, this also turned out to be a good thing, since the weather had turned crappy—with lots of rain and melting and very icy roads, so some of the guests were later to arrive than they had planned, and our actual meal start time of 15:15 turned out to be perfect for them. Even so, if I ever do two birds at one time again I will do the 06:00 start, as it will be easier to relax during the process.

While the birds baked we did the mashed potatoes and fruit salad (read: a large variety of fruit + whipped cream). I skipped the almonds in the fruit salad this year due to a nut allergic person. However, that person was also a vegetarian, so I left the nuts in the stuffing, which consisted of the above mentioned home baked bread, cooked moose meat etc., some quinoa, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts, and more herbs and more spices. We cooked most of the stuffing inside of the birds, and the overflow got put into the oven with milk poured over it when the turkey came out. This worked out well, since some of the vegetarians present will eat wild game, but not store bought meat, so they could try that version of the stuffing.

In addition to what I cooked a few of the other guests (there were 26 of us for that meal) brought vegetable side dishes. All of my life when guests asked my mother "what can I bring" for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, she would give them the list of what we are making and suggest that they bring a vegetable side dish. I do not remember one time when the vegetable side dish turned out to be something I was interested in eating. This time was no exception, since it had mushrooms in it. Sigh. There are ever so many vegetables I like, yet people seem to think that holidays are a time to combine the few I don't care for in new and interesting ways. It is not easy being fussy.

The nicest thing about doing the turkey dinner was that it meant that we ate early enough that I actually got to eat, too! I get so tired of attending SCA events where the feast isn't served until my weird appetite has turned itself off for the evening and I am just not interested in food at all. It was nice to be able to eat with everyone else for a change. I even tried a small bit of the turkey, even if is store bought meat, and, of course, I ate the gravy. I love making gravy, and think I make a very tasty one.

After that meal we cleaned up a bit and spent an hour or so with people chatting in small groups. Then our hosts passed out pieces of paper to everyone, with a short character description on it, and we had asurprise mini-LARP )

After the game we did some SCA dancing, and then there was another pot-luck meal (but that one was late enough that I didn't eat anything), followed by going outside to shoot off rockets for midnight. I considered going to bed after that, since I was tired, but then they started singing, so I couldn't resist staying away and enjoying the singing, so I didn't actually get to bed till almost 03:00. However, [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and C didn't come in till 05:00—they sat up with a couple of the guests who had arranged a ride home from another friend who was working night shift and could pick them up on the way home from work. Pretty much everyone else stayed the night—the advantage of our hosts having a large house—there is room enough for everyone.

I had started boiling the turkey bones to make a soup the night before, and then turned it off and put it into the cellar to keep cool sometime in the late evening. Then the next morning I warmed it up enough to separate out the bones from the liquid and bagged the stock up to be frozen. Our hosts enjoy cooking, and they said they would happily make use of the stock later, since we wouldn't be heading home for a few more days, and therefore didn't want to bring it with us.

We had planned on heading over to another friend's house to spend the afternoon with him, but we got a late start at leaving K's house, in part because I was still dealing with turkey stuff, but also because [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar was helping them deal with their heating unit, which was having issues. [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar grew up with the same sort of pellet-burning heater, so he knew some things one can do with them. Hopefully the repairs they did worked—one does not want the heat in a house to go out in the middle the winter—frozen pipes are a very expensive problem, and best avoided.

We did eventually make it to D's house a bit after 15:00, which didn't leave as much time as I might have liked to hang out with him, but it was long enough for me to try on his re-enactment costume, for he and [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar to play violin, and to just hang out and chat for a bit. Then he had to go meet some friends for dinner, so he walked us to a Chinese restaurant (since the Indian one next door, which had been our first choice, was closed), and we three had a lovely dinner and conversation, followed by a nice long walk (the warm weather had, by then, been going on long enough that the ice had completely melted from the sidewalks, so it was, finally, easy walking), and then we went to a grocery store to pick up stuff for breakfast the next morning. This got us to late enough that we could meet our friend LH at the hospital where she works just as she got off of duty, and then we went back to her place, where we cooked some scones and whipped cream to serve with the jam we had bought (I didn't eat any that night, of course, but it made a lovey breakfast the next morning.

We spent both that night and Friday night at her place, just relaxing and hanging out. [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar had had a slight cough for weeks, but around this time it got much worse and he wound up with a fever, too, so he was really content to just relax and be social. I went out each day for a walk, because she lives in a pretty area in the countryside north of Umeå. He was still feeling under the weather on Saturday, so C and I did most of the driving back to Luleå, letting him drive only for the last 40 kilometres, when he was feeling rested, and we were tired.

She drove as far as Skellefteå, where stopped by [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar's brother's house exactly on time to be invited to dinner (and early enough that I could eat, too!), and I drove from there north.

We got home before 21:00 on Saturday, with enough energy left to put everything away, do yoga and play dulcimer before going to bed. Sunday we spent a good hour shovelling snow. While it warned up so much in Umeå that most of their snow melted from the rain and huge swaths of grass was showing (looked rather like late March), up here it warmed up only enough to put a bit of a crust onto the snow, and there was new snow, too. This meant we had a bit more than a decimetre of snow on the driveway, which had a thin crunchy crust, and it held together very well. This meant we could slide the shovel under, break it up, pick up chunks of it, and then stack them on top of what was already on the shovel, before pushing it over to an appropriate place to pile it. That hour was long enough for C. and I to clear one entry to the driveway and paths to both cars, but it took another 45 minutes the next day to finish the rest of the driveway and parking area. I love winter—it comes with a built-in work out plan.

[livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar had also scheduled Monday to be a vacation day, so he didn't have to go into work, but I hadn't, so I had planned to go in. However, when I started walking in Monday morning I realized that the only reason I was going in was to get some exercise, and that I could just as easily work from home, so instead of walking to work I turned the other direction, to enjoy the pretty moon in the western sky, and did a short loop before heading home and settling into a day with the computer being useful.

Monday evening C started coughing, and I noticed that my lymph nodes were swollen. Not wanting to experience the bad cough that [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar hadn't yet completely gotten over, I decided that the best defence is a good offense, and we turned on the sauna and cooked ourselves for a while. I did my yoga in the sauna as it heated, then relaxed, and went to bed straight after getting out (they sat in the sauna longer, as they hadn't been in there during yoga (it is a small sauna)), and I was asleep by 21:00. I slept under two thick feather doonas, and between their warmth, having pre-heated my body in the sauna, and my immune system doing battle with little invaders, I sweat fairly heavily all night long, which was probably a good thing, since I woke up at 06:00 feeling a fair bit better (if still a bit tender in the lymph nodes). So I got up, tossed my pillow cases and doona cover into the laundry (leaving the other doonas and bottom sheet on the bed since they were still sleeping, not having gone to bed themselves till midnight) and did a bit of sewing and went for a walk. Then I crawled back in bed and took a bit of a nap before we all got up and had breakfast together.

After breakfast he and I were motivated enough to build a stand for the moraharpa, so now both the cello and the moraharpa can stand up on display, ready to use at a moment's notice. We have also worked on sewing projects, and I managed to get caught up on some computer stuff. Now it is time to do yoga and get to bed—I should actually go into the office tomorrow to see if the department head is back from holiday—I need his signature on the form to get reading glasses, and my appointment for that is Thursday.
kareina: (stitched)
One of the big holiday traditions here in Sweden centers around St. Lucia--across the country on December 13th there are hundreds of performances by various choirs, each with a person dressed as Lucia, with a crown of lit candles on her head, wearing the traditional white dress and red belt. The other women in the choir also wear the white dresses and red belts, and everyone in the choir carries a lit candle. Usually there is little to no other light in the room besides the candles the choir carries (and, in the case of Lucia, wears). The performance is usually early in the morning--here at our uni it happens at 07:30, and takes about a half an hour. Despite the early hour the hall is packed with people who come to listen (and drink the traditional glogg and eat pepperkakor and lucia bullar) before they head to work or classes or whatever for the day.

This year someone in the audience with the capability to record video was a friend to one of the choir members, and he put a short video on line which shows our procession in and has excerpts from each of the songs we did. I am posting the link here because I suspect my mom would want to watch, and there is a chance that someone else might be interested.

However, I have no idea if any of you would click the link to watch a student choir singing in the (mostly) dark, so if you would be so kind as to leave a comment to let me know if you did, it would amuse me to find out who (if anyone) does watch it, and if you watch/listen to all 11 minutes, or only glance at part of it). Some of the songs are in Swedish, some in English, and one in Sami, and all have a strong Christmas theme +/- religious symbolism (personally I would like the tradition better without the religious part, but I so love to sing I am willing to sing pretty sounding songs despite the religious trappings).
kareina: (stitched)
It is well and truly spring now--we have more daylight than dark each day now, and the amount of sun is increasing noticeably each day. Sadly, my beautiful snow is melting. Happily, it isn't doing so very quickly--while it has been getting to around +5 C at mid-day, it is still dropping to -9 C at night, which means that it is still safe to walk on the snow machine tracks on the lake (how I will miss that shortcut when the ice under the snow starts melting!)

Our house has lots of windows on the south-facing side, and the view out those windows is mostly across fields, which means that at this time of the year, if it is sunny (which it has been!), we get lots of sun shining directly into those windows. This has made a huge difference in the temperature in the house.

There were a couple of times this winter when the temperatures were this warm, with temps a bit above freezing during the days and a bit below freezing at night, but during the winter there wasn't much sun shining directly on the house--it was only up at all for a few hours, and it only cleared the trees on the far side of the field for a bit at mid-day. As a result inside of the house during the winter, even on those relativity warm days, it was cool enough that I always needed to wear long sleeves. Usually only a cotton sweater, but I couldn't run around with bare arms.

Now that the sun shines directly on our windows the sweater is too much--these days I am wearing sleeveless shirts inside the house, and closing the blinds against the sunlight at mid-day to keep from over-heating. Clearly we could use a bit more insulation. The good news is that it is unlikely to continue to be a problem--by the time the snow is completely gone the sun should be high enough in the sky as to be shining directly on our roof, instead of into the windows, and, with luck, it won't get too warm in here.

This weekend was a holiday weekend--in Sweden we get both Friday and Monday off of work, so [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and I celebrated by staying home. On Friday I walked to Gammelstad in the morning. I have been wanting to do this since we moved in--the Old Church Town is 7 km from here by road, but I knew it would take less time to go through the forest. Indeed, the trail which starts 100 meters from my door leads right to that part of Gammelstad, which is were the other laurel in our shire lives. He and his wife have been down in Umeå (three hours south of here) for work for a couple of months, and will be there another couple of months, but they came home for the holiday weekend.

I had forgotten my long cast-pewter nålbindining needle at the last event we had (back in December!), and he picked it up for me, but we hadn't gotten together to get it back to me before they went south. Not to long back [livejournal.com profile] liadethornegge had been up here for a visit, and she had a scroll for the above mentioned laurel, so she dropped it off with me, since he wasn't home.

Therefore I combined these into an excuse for a walk. I walk to their house Friday morning (4.51 km, took 57 minutes), picked up my needle, and met [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar there. He brought the scroll, which we dropped off, and the laurel was very, very pleased with it. We made time for a cup of tea with them, then left him in the shop happily casting stuff (he has missed his shop), and we tried to run errands, but the stores were closed. So we spent the rest of the day happily working on projects at home.

Saturday I did an even longer walk (6.23 km, took 1 h 17 min), taking one of the other forest paths further than I had before, and coming out on another road and then looped back by the road to the house. It was the first time I had walked down that road, and while I found it cute, I am pleased to report that none of my explorations in the neighbourhoods near where we are living has showed me a property that I would rather have than the one we bought. We were terribly lucky to find a place that suits our needs and wish list so well. Most of the other houses in our neighbourhood would have been way better than the apartment we had been living in, but so far I haven't found one I would rather have than this one.

Sunday we spent the day working on projects, and I nearly forgot to go for a walk till nearly sunset, so I just did a little loop (2.67 km, 29 min)

Today [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar's little brother and his wife came up from Skellefteå (two hours south of here) for a visit, so I used the excuse to bake pizza. Three pizzas was enough to feed the four of us and leave a fair bit left over for tomorrow's lunch (which is good, since I have to go collect samples tomorrow, so I need to take food with me). Today's pizza contained broccoli, zucchini, spinach, fresh tomato, Parmesan cheese on everybody's corners, plus sausage and pineapple and grated cheese on everyone else's sections but mine. I am not certain I have ever made pizza for a group with such compatible tastes before--normally when I do pizza for four each quadrant has toppings that are different from each of the others. This time only my corner was different, and then only because I don't eat meat, think cheese is better raw than melted, and eat my pineapple only raw, not cooked.

This evening we went to nyckleharpa class, and I am pleased to report that while I cannot yet play the few tunes I know at full speed, if the others slow down I can play along with them. I am, of course, getting further and further behind the others, since they are all experience musicians and they are making time to practice in between classes (which happen every other week). I usually manage to practice once or twice in those 14 days, which simply isn't enough. However, I am still having fun with it, so it doesn't matter if I am slower. The others have already learned a fair few of the Allspel (everyone plays) songs (press "nästa" to page through all of the songs available via that link) that all the local muscians play at the really big Spelmansstamman(musician's gathering) we have in the summer. I can play (sort of) only a couple of them so far, but now that they are talking about playing at Spelmansstamman I suddenly want to make more time to practice and learn the tunes.

Sigh. There are so very many things I want to be doing with my free time--learning to play music, going for long walks, reading books, sewing projects, nålbinding projects, dancing, writing an app to replace my food log (which I have been keeping in Excel for so long the file size has become huge), improving things around the house...

In between all that I also have tons to do for work, with sample collecting tomorrow, a grant application deadline looming on the 11th, and lots of actual science to do with the data I have so far...

I should probably close this, do my yoga, and get some rest, in hopes of accomplishing some of that tomorrow...
kareina: (Default)
first there were minor car problems getting there )

After than minor delay in arriving the rest of the visit was very nice. [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar's family are very delightful people. This year there were 15 of us--his three brothers, their parents, partners, and children, and us. His sister didn't make it this year (spent it with her husband's family down south, I think), or there would have been another two adults and two more kids. The visit was a near perfect mix of being sociable with the others, curling up alone with a book, playing in the snow, and eating too much good food. I am grateful that I am such a fussy eater--once one eliminates the meat and fish dishes and the things containing anything in the vinegar family the amount of food remaining was reasonable, so I ate only slightly more than on a normal day, rather than hugely more.

Well, ok, save for the traditional desert, risalamata, which is made by first cooking short grained porridge rice in way more milk than you think it can absorb, till it is completely absorbed (they do this in an oven set to a fairly low heat). In that form it is a traditional holiday breakfast, served with a little milk and cinnamon on it. I like it that way, but I truly love the transformation into risalamalta: chill the rice cooked in milk till it is cold. Whip more cream than you think it needs, blend them together. Serve with berries. This year the choices were hjortron (cloudberry), black berries, and strawberries. They are all good, but, honestly, I would happily eat the risalamalta all by itself without berries, too.

Normally I find it easy to eat only a reasonable amount of things. Not where this desert is concerned--I had thirds! I am quite certain that I ate more risalmalta than I did dinner that evening. The only thing that stopped me from having fourths is the fact that my stomach was already on the uncomfortable side of full--I still wanted more! (note: some recipes for this on line suggest adding sugar to it--don't. It is perfect as is, and you can sweeten the berries if you want sweet.)

We stayed at his parent's place through to Wednesday, and then the two of his brothers and their wives who live down south and so hadn't seen our house yet drove us home and stayed for home made pizza. I must admit that as nice as it was to be there it was even nicer to come home and to do my own cooking again.

Sadly, one of the little girls was a bit sick while we were there--complaining of a tummy ache. We have no idea if it was something contagious, or something she ate, but when we got home both L and [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar came down with the same problem--tummy ache and digestion tract issues. I skipped the tummy ache, and had only slight modifications to my normal digestion processing, so whever the cause either I got a milder case or have a better immune system or something. Luckily, it was only a bit more than 24 hours that they were really bothered, and we are all back to normal now.

Up until late last night the weather has been perfect--nice and cold, the snow has been soft and fluffy, and I have been enjoying having a small sledding hill in my yard. Last night I started getting grumpy, and we assumed that it was just because I was tired, and sent me to bed. This morning I woke up still easily pushed into grumpy, and I noticed that the temp has risen to just above freezing, which meant rain on top of my snow. Now I suspect that the change in pressure with the change in weather was probably a factor in my grumpiness, and, of course, I am not happy to see rain--one of the main reasons I want to live this far north is that I love snow and never, ever want to see rain in the winter. If the weather makes a habit of this every year I do not know how long I will be willing to live on the Swedish coast--it will be time to move further north, further inland, and higher in elevation. So this had better be a rare fluke and not repeat again for another decade or three...
kareina: (Default)
The shire's potluck feast is tonight. Since he as the day off and we were working from home we are all dressed and ready and the spinach pie is done an hour before time to go, so I am actually taking a moment to post something.

I am loving winter, it is so good to have snow again, and the sledding hill I created by piling all of the snow from the walking paths at the edge of our small hill is fun. It will be even more fun when we get around to acquiring better sleds than a cardboard box in a plastic bag. However, I feel a weird disconnect from the fact that, for so many other people, it is nearly Christmas. I gave up celebrating that holiday years ago, when I had a Jewish boyfriend. It didn't make sense when neither of us was Christian. So I don't spend time stressing about shopping for the perfect gift (heck, I never shopped when I did celebrate that holiday, because if I didn't make it myself I am not going to give it away. I also forget that others are stressing. Therefore it was quite a surprise to me when [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar came home from a trip to a post office (picking up a registered letter) and grocery store grumpy, because the roads were full of people to stressed to drive properly, and the store was full of people too stressed to be civil.

Silly people. Stay home and relax, and don't go shopping...
kareina: (me)
Since I'm living on my own, have no local social life to speak of, and am not a Christian I didn't really expect to do anything for Christmas, other than packing in preparation for moving out next week. However, at the last minute I got a FB note from the SCA family from Calontir who lives here in Milan, inviting me to drop by at some point on either Christmas Eve or Christmas day--they said they were hosting some of the Marines who work at the Embassy, and would enjoy additional visitors. Since I am very fond of the family, and hadn't been over there at all since my mother was here in October I decided to accept the invitation.

Besides, as I've been cleaning and organizing my things I'd found a few things I wanted to give their children, and this seemed like a good time to do that. As I was sorting out the collection of event tokens and other miscellaneous odds and ends into piles of mine and thins that belong to [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t I found a very pretty blue dream-catcher that someone made me many years ago, but I have never displayed, because I don't tend to put up any art that isn't also directly useful (and since my dreams are fine as is, I didn't see a need to catch them), and when I saw it I thought of their daughter, E, who is a very delightful, self-assured, intelligent young thing who often reminds me of me at that age (late elementary school). So I decided that it is time to pass it on to someone who will appreciate it. Having decided to give that away I looked again at the rest of the trinkets, and noticed a really nice event token I got at an event in Kotzebue, Alaska. The token is a small knife-like object with a bone handle, metal not-sharp blade, and sinew attached in a loop so that one can easily carry it hanging off of a belt or something. It was made by an Alaskan native, using traditional techniques, and was really a much nicer, more labour intensive site-token than I've seen most places. Like the dream-catcher it has been sitting in a box, neglected for many years. Therefore it is time to pass it on, and I gave it to E's younger brother.

I also passed on a UFO. Before I left the West I had made matching brown linen tunics with blue and black trim for myself and my housemates. When I arrived in Tassie I had a number of weeks before my things which were being posted over to me arrived, and found myself without a sewing or embroidery project. I decided that I would embellish the neckline of the tunic, which was only edged with contrasting colour fabric, and started stitching. I foolishly started at the mid-point in the back and worked my way around. I got to just past the mid-point in the front when my stuff arrived, and I had other projects to work on, so I set that one aside. That was in mid-2003 and I've never picked it back up and finished the embroidery, which means that I've also not worn the tunic. (There is a reason I normally embroider on a separate piece of fabric and then attach it to the tunic, rather than embroidering on the tunic itself!) Knowing that E enjoys doing embroidery, I asked if she'd be interested in having the tunic and finishing the embroidery so that she could wear it (yes, it is large on her now, but with a belt that won't matter) and was met with an enthusiastic "yes!", so the project is now hers. I wish her better luck completing it than I had!

They tell me that they will come over after we finish loading up the van and pick up things like lamps (which, having Italian plugs aren't useful elsewhere unless we want to use adaptors for them) and any boxes that don't fit in the van. I commented that I hadn't decided if I should keep the popcorn popper or not and E jumped up and down exclaiming "you have a popcorn popper? I love popcorn!" (I told you she reminds me of me.) Therefore I think I will probably be leaving that behind for them--that much enthusiasm needs to be encouraged. I can always get a new popcorn popper, with local plug, once I figure out where I will be living.

It was very nice spending some time over there this afternoon. Not only did I get to give the kids gifts, I got to witness the whole family opening them. Much to my surprise, they didn't do the gifts thing until 14:00. My family always did that first thing in the morning (and we kids would make coffee for mom before we dared wake her). It was fun to sit and work on stitching while they unwrapped presents (I was the only guest just then--the marines who had been there for brunch had left already). I finished the project I had brought with me around 15:00, and decided to head home myself.

I wound up walking home because I really need the exercise--it turns out that it is only 1 hr 22 minutes to do the walk from their place following the same path that the metro takes for most of it. This surprised me, because if I take the bus (which stops right outside of my door and goes to quite near their door) it takes an hour (or more during peak traffic). I often take the metro, which means walking 25 minutes to the correct line, and then riding to the closest stop by then and walking another five minutes, and that takes an hour total. It also takes about an hour to get there by walking to the closest metro (10 minutes), then transferring to the correct line and finishing the journey to their place. Makes me wonder if I wrote down the start and stop time for the walk correctly, if it is not much more time than taking public transit...

This time next week I will be in Sweden! If only my packing were done already. Perhaps I should shut down the computer and go do my yoga and get some sleep so that I can accomplish lots with tomorrow.
kareina: (me)
Starting yesterday I started really feeling like I *should* be getting back to doing uni work. Sure, the thesis has been submitted, but there are papers to write, and a talk to organize before I get there. However, all I managed was doing a bit of reading. What did I do instead?

Yesterday:

* walked to the store to get a few things
* baked cookies with my niece
* went for a very short roller blade trip (it turns out that my sister's skates left bruises on the sides of my shins the day before, so that it hurt to try to skate again that soon)
* general social time with the family
* trip to the airport with mom to drop off one of my sisters and our friend who were heading to their homes
* Trivial pursuit game with mom and remaining sisters

Today:

* trip to the fruit/veg market with brother-in-law
* meet my nieces' god-mother
* play a game with niece & my sister
* mixed up & kneaded a traditional Russian style black bread to go with the borscht that my Russian brother-in-law will make for dinner tonight (I used his recipie, which involves ground fennel and instant coffee in addition to rye flour and molasses)
* attempted to download a couple of articles but ran into connection issues


Still to do today:

* Bake the bread
* Enjoy fresh bread and borscht
* head to Tacoma to hear Tania Opland perform (anyone want to come along or meet me there?)
kareina: (me)
Starting yesterday I started really feeling like I *should* be getting back to doing uni work. Sure, the thesis has been submitted, but there are papers to write, and a talk to organize before I get there. However, all I managed was doing a bit of reading. What did I do instead?

Yesterday:

* walked to the store to get a few things
* baked cookies with my niece
* went for a very short roller blade trip (it turns out that my sister's skates left bruises on the sides of my shins the day before, so that it hurt to try to skate again that soon)
* general social time with the family
* trip to the airport with mom to drop off one of my sisters and our friend who were heading to their homes
* Trivial pursuit game with mom and remaining sisters

Today:

* trip to the fruit/veg market with brother-in-law
* meet my nieces' god-mother
* play a game with niece & my sister
* mixed up & kneaded a traditional Russian style black bread to go with the borscht that my Russian brother-in-law will make for dinner tonight (I used his recipie, which involves ground fennel and instant coffee in addition to rye flour and molasses)
* attempted to download a couple of articles but ran into connection issues


Still to do today:

* Bake the bread
* Enjoy fresh bread and borscht
* head to Tacoma to hear Tania Opland perform (anyone want to come along or meet me there?)

holiday!

Jun. 18th, 2009 06:15 am
kareina: (me)
Got the thesis turned in, am travelling. Had a lovely day in Sydney yesterday--head to the airport to fly to California soon. Will be at West Crown this weekend--hope to see many of you there. No idea when I'll next have internet access. Haven't had a chance to read LJ in days--looking forward to catching up when I can.

holiday!

Jun. 18th, 2009 06:15 am
kareina: (me)
Got the thesis turned in, am travelling. Had a lovely day in Sydney yesterday--head to the airport to fly to California soon. Will be at West Crown this weekend--hope to see many of you there. No idea when I'll next have internet access. Haven't had a chance to read LJ in days--looking forward to catching up when I can.
kareina: (Default)
My morning started nice and early, with a 4.5 hour hike up Cathedral Rock with [livejournal.com profile] baronsnorri and our friend, the adventure guide. I did take photos, and thought I'd share some, but given the dodgy internet connection, I think, perhaps, I should wait till I get a chance to go into uni, and use the good connection there.

The afternoon alternated between uni work, reading fiction, and another, much shorter, walk with [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t. Only managed 3.5 hours of uni work :-( but, on the bright side, it is better than the day before, which was better than the day before. Improvement is good--if it keeps up, I'll be up to a reasonable amount of work again soon!

[livejournal.com profile] clovis_t has decided to go to the Falls Festival this year. We volunteered there with the Tasmanian Wilderness Society a couple of years ago. They've got the contract to keep the composting toilets for the event clean. The Festival pays the Wilderness Society an appropriate amount to cover a reasonable rate of pay for the cleaners, and the cleaners donate their time, so the Wilderness Society gets to keep the cash (minus some minor expenses getting the volunteers out there and feeding them). It is a great deal for the volunteers, who arrive on site early, before the crowds and get to camp in the nice roomy staff only area, and get free entry to the Festival. They only work a few shifts each over the event, so there is plenty of time to enjoy the music. I can't spare the time this year, but he's done with his degree and not yet working, so he's got the time to spare. So he will go play (in between cleaning the toilets) and I'll stay home and do as much work as possible on the thesis whilst he's gone. I wonder if there is another New Year's Eve dance this year?
kareina: (Default)
My morning started nice and early, with a 4.5 hour hike up Cathedral Rock with [livejournal.com profile] baronsnorri and our friend, the adventure guide. I did take photos, and thought I'd share some, but given the dodgy internet connection, I think, perhaps, I should wait till I get a chance to go into uni, and use the good connection there.

The afternoon alternated between uni work, reading fiction, and another, much shorter, walk with [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t. Only managed 3.5 hours of uni work :-( but, on the bright side, it is better than the day before, which was better than the day before. Improvement is good--if it keeps up, I'll be up to a reasonable amount of work again soon!

[livejournal.com profile] clovis_t has decided to go to the Falls Festival this year. We volunteered there with the Tasmanian Wilderness Society a couple of years ago. They've got the contract to keep the composting toilets for the event clean. The Festival pays the Wilderness Society an appropriate amount to cover a reasonable rate of pay for the cleaners, and the cleaners donate their time, so the Wilderness Society gets to keep the cash (minus some minor expenses getting the volunteers out there and feeding them). It is a great deal for the volunteers, who arrive on site early, before the crowds and get to camp in the nice roomy staff only area, and get free entry to the Festival. They only work a few shifts each over the event, so there is plenty of time to enjoy the music. I can't spare the time this year, but he's done with his degree and not yet working, so he's got the time to spare. So he will go play (in between cleaning the toilets) and I'll stay home and do as much work as possible on the thesis whilst he's gone. I wonder if there is another New Year's Eve dance this year?
kareina: (Default)
We've just had a yummy Christmas breakfast of crepes with our choice of fresh raspberries, a variety of jams, a variety of nuts, peanut butter, thickened cream or left over frosting and we unwrapped presents. When I was a kid our family passed them out, and one person at a time opened gifts, with everyone paying attention to the one doing the unwrapping. This family passes them out and everyone unwraps at once, with an occasional glance to see what the others are getting. Quite different! The family is now happily watching some of the CD's from the "Dad's Army" boxed set that [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t's dad got, and I've come back to the room to do some uni work until it is time to head out for the BBQ "lunch" around 3pm. I only managed about an hour of uni work yesterday in amongst the festivities, but I should be able to (at least) double that today (I hope)...
kareina: (Default)
We've just had a yummy Christmas breakfast of crepes with our choice of fresh raspberries, a variety of jams, a variety of nuts, peanut butter, thickened cream or left over frosting and we unwrapped presents. When I was a kid our family passed them out, and one person at a time opened gifts, with everyone paying attention to the one doing the unwrapping. This family passes them out and everyone unwraps at once, with an occasional glance to see what the others are getting. Quite different! The family is now happily watching some of the CD's from the "Dad's Army" boxed set that [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t's dad got, and I've come back to the room to do some uni work until it is time to head out for the BBQ "lunch" around 3pm. I only managed about an hour of uni work yesterday in amongst the festivities, but I should be able to (at least) double that today (I hope)...
kareina: (Default)
When one relocates to the southern hemisphere it becomes necessary to adjust one's perceptions of the seasons and how they relate to the calendar. My SCA name includes the phrase "Talvi Tytär" (Finnish for "winter daughter" because I've always loved the winter--my favourite time of they year has always been that time from Thanksgiving to New Years when life is a whirlwind of snow, parties, good friends, good food, good times. The snow part has always been a favourite, and I rather miss it. However, waking up to a breakfast involving fresh raspberries from the garden does go a long way to reconcile myself to the fact that it is summer in December!

Thanks to much effort on the part of [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t we now have internet access in our room! It is slow and unreliable, but it is present! Yay! No more having to carry the computer down the hall, and then restart it there--which means no more having to re-set up my spare monitor! No more having to wait till the others have gone to bed at night to get my internet fix.

So now I can catch up on important greetings:

Happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] fjorlief, may your next year be full of successful art projects, time spent with friends and loved ones, and much joy.

Happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] callistotoni may your next year see continued growth of your new love, may you find ways to be together often, and may your joy continue to inspire the rest of us.

and a belated happy birthday to my most wondrous mother, [livejournal.com profile] darttn, I did send you an e-mail on the day, but you are such a great mom, it is worth repeating again here in front of everyone. Hope your day was full of fun, and your next year full of adventures of the good sort!
kareina: (Default)
When one relocates to the southern hemisphere it becomes necessary to adjust one's perceptions of the seasons and how they relate to the calendar. My SCA name includes the phrase "Talvi Tytär" (Finnish for "winter daughter" because I've always loved the winter--my favourite time of they year has always been that time from Thanksgiving to New Years when life is a whirlwind of snow, parties, good friends, good food, good times. The snow part has always been a favourite, and I rather miss it. However, waking up to a breakfast involving fresh raspberries from the garden does go a long way to reconcile myself to the fact that it is summer in December!

Thanks to much effort on the part of [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t we now have internet access in our room! It is slow and unreliable, but it is present! Yay! No more having to carry the computer down the hall, and then restart it there--which means no more having to re-set up my spare monitor! No more having to wait till the others have gone to bed at night to get my internet fix.

So now I can catch up on important greetings:

Happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] fjorlief, may your next year be full of successful art projects, time spent with friends and loved ones, and much joy.

Happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] callistotoni may your next year see continued growth of your new love, may you find ways to be together often, and may your joy continue to inspire the rest of us.

and a belated happy birthday to my most wondrous mother, [livejournal.com profile] darttn, I did send you an e-mail on the day, but you are such a great mom, it is worth repeating again here in front of everyone. Hope your day was full of fun, and your next year full of adventures of the good sort!
kareina: (Default)
*wrote ~400 words for the thesis
*cleaned the oven
*went Christmas shopping
*attended a party at the home of our local baroness
*wrapped presents
*went for a walk
*yoga
*told e-mail & LJ to download so I can read it tomorrow over breakfast


still to come:

*read my 1000 words of geologic literature
*sleep

tomorrow:

try to finish chapter five and send it to my advisor
kareina: (Default)
*wrote ~400 words for the thesis
*cleaned the oven
*went Christmas shopping
*attended a party at the home of our local baroness
*wrapped presents
*went for a walk
*yoga
*told e-mail & LJ to download so I can read it tomorrow over breakfast


still to come:

*read my 1000 words of geologic literature
*sleep

tomorrow:

try to finish chapter five and send it to my advisor
kareina: (me)
When I was a child living in Alaska Halloween often meant trick-or-treating in the snow. Usually not much snow that early in the winter, but often at least a dusting. In my years living in the "lower 48" as Alaskans are wont to call the rest of the US, I came to think of Halloween as an autumn holiday, with leaves turning colour, and whilst I no longer went trick-or-treating, having outgrown my interest in candy (not to mention having grown tall enough that many folk would have called me too old), I still enjoyed Halloween parties.

However, Halloween isn't celebrated in Australia the way that it is in the US. Not only was today a lovely spring day, with morning showers and afternoon sunshine, flowers happily blooming, and most of the (imported) trees having achieved their leaves (the one out front isn't quite in full leaf yet, but as it is the last to lose its leaves at summer's end, I'll forgive it the delay), but if there were any Halloween parties on offer, I didn't hear of them. Nor did anyone knock on our door looking for treats (and, knowing they wouldn't, we didn't prepare for them).

In addition to not really feeling like a holiday, it was an odd day in other respects. Last night I stayed up working a bit later than I might have done, and then, once we'd done our yoga for the evening, I spend an hour or so editing [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t's Honours Thesis, which was due today. As a result I didn't get to sleep till nearly 03:00, and I was *not* ready to get up when his alarm went off at 07:30. So I slept in and he went back to work on the thesis, looking over my suggested edits, doing some final tweaking of his own. Alas, my sleep was not sound--I couldn't wake up, but I didn't sleep deeply--dreamt that I was up in Alaska for something and was about to leave, but then realized that I hadn't yet contacted any number of folk I'd like to see before leaving.

Once I finally got up at 10:30 [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t was discovering that our printer wasn't working properly--leaving a blank line across the middle of the text. He has never had occasion to print anything at Uni, and the day your thesis is due (he needed to had in three paper copies of the ~50 page document) is not the day to figure out how it is done. So instead I took him into the Geology department, we put some cash on my account to cover the cost ($0.11/page), and we printed it there, where it took no time at all to print, compared to what it would have on the home printer, had it been working properly, and he turned it in.

By the time we got home I was hungry again, not feeling terribly motivated, and somehow some hours slipped away before I actually started doing any uni work. So here it is, after midnight, and I'd done only 3 1/2 hours of uni work today (though I've managed more than five hours of "useful tasks". But another sample's worth of calculations is done, and the need to write up the results in the morning will, I hope, inspire me to start work nice and early!
kareina: (me)
When I was a child living in Alaska Halloween often meant trick-or-treating in the snow. Usually not much snow that early in the winter, but often at least a dusting. In my years living in the "lower 48" as Alaskans are wont to call the rest of the US, I came to think of Halloween as an autumn holiday, with leaves turning colour, and whilst I no longer went trick-or-treating, having outgrown my interest in candy (not to mention having grown tall enough that many folk would have called me too old), I still enjoyed Halloween parties.

However, Halloween isn't celebrated in Australia the way that it is in the US. Not only was today a lovely spring day, with morning showers and afternoon sunshine, flowers happily blooming, and most of the (imported) trees having achieved their leaves (the one out front isn't quite in full leaf yet, but as it is the last to lose its leaves at summer's end, I'll forgive it the delay), but if there were any Halloween parties on offer, I didn't hear of them. Nor did anyone knock on our door looking for treats (and, knowing they wouldn't, we didn't prepare for them).

In addition to not really feeling like a holiday, it was an odd day in other respects. Last night I stayed up working a bit later than I might have done, and then, once we'd done our yoga for the evening, I spend an hour or so editing [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t's Honours Thesis, which was due today. As a result I didn't get to sleep till nearly 03:00, and I was *not* ready to get up when his alarm went off at 07:30. So I slept in and he went back to work on the thesis, looking over my suggested edits, doing some final tweaking of his own. Alas, my sleep was not sound--I couldn't wake up, but I didn't sleep deeply--dreamt that I was up in Alaska for something and was about to leave, but then realized that I hadn't yet contacted any number of folk I'd like to see before leaving.

Once I finally got up at 10:30 [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t was discovering that our printer wasn't working properly--leaving a blank line across the middle of the text. He has never had occasion to print anything at Uni, and the day your thesis is due (he needed to had in three paper copies of the ~50 page document) is not the day to figure out how it is done. So instead I took him into the Geology department, we put some cash on my account to cover the cost ($0.11/page), and we printed it there, where it took no time at all to print, compared to what it would have on the home printer, had it been working properly, and he turned it in.

By the time we got home I was hungry again, not feeling terribly motivated, and somehow some hours slipped away before I actually started doing any uni work. So here it is, after midnight, and I'd done only 3 1/2 hours of uni work today (though I've managed more than five hours of "useful tasks". But another sample's worth of calculations is done, and the need to write up the results in the morning will, I hope, inspire me to start work nice and early!

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