Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Dear Natalie

I just found out that I have another paper, meaning I now have six papers all in all to write. But no matter. I have yet to be struck with an impending sense of doom, which should hit any mortal at this point in the year. All I can think of is summer and what I shall do in Edinburgh. I thought it best to compile a list now.

Climb Arthur's Seat
Have tea time with Natalie
Read many books and write many stories
Sit in a cafe and drink hot chocolate
Walk along the Royal Mile again

 What else shall I do?

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Happy Resurrection Day!

I went to church, and I felt slightly sacrilegious taking pictures in church. But hey, if I never take pictures I never take pictures.

 A Pew with a View

 Ben reprimands me with a raised eyebrow

 Sneaking a peek over dad's shoulder

After the service, there was an Easter egg hunt on the church grounds. Ben and John were to round up all the kids and lay out the basic rules, like "If you see someone smaller than you, do not hesitate to shove them out of the way and take their egg," which was met with vehement protestation from most, but not all, of the gathered.

 The crowd stands in awe of Ben's hypnotic charisma.

 Ben and John demonstrate how to hold an egg.

 "Yes, O Great Master."

 " The egg is on your side!"

 Kyle takes a quiet moment with the daffodils to reflect on the advent of spring. 

After church, we all headed off to the Lennons for lunch. We played basketball, blew bubbles, ate a lunch, (some) had water fights, petted the dog, petted the guinea pig, and talked of shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings.

Ben and Ella

 A lovely spread of hors d'oeuvres

 Hummus dip and crackers

 John throws his hand up, admitting defeat in the Great Sidewalk Race.

 Due to residual embarrassment from his failure, he expired soon after.

 Jack back-flipped off this tree, but my camera could not catch the moment. You'll have to imagine.

Father Holmgren says a prayer to bless house and home

The carving of the roast beast

 A man of Swedish descent, who told me remembered Swedish words from his childhood. "Latmask!"

 The man with the can; the beard and the beer. 

And as for the rest of the afternoon? I avoided my homework and introduced Melissa to the vlogbrothers on youtube. Their videos are for the people with even the slightest leanings toward nerdhood. She consequently spent her precious time viewing their videos instead of going to bed, nerdfighter that she is.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

The Summer's Clarion Call

I am going to Edinburgh! I booked tickets to see Natalie in May! And that is only the beginning of the wonderful things I will do. I shall celebrate Midsummer with my family in Sweden, and in July we will drive down to the southern part of Sweden to attend a Christian conference held during this time of the year. In August, my friend Alicia comes to visit, and Natalie flies in to see me a little bit after that. It will be a summer filled with family, friends, food, and flight, and I am so very excited.

The future spreads out before me and it is full of possibility.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Potato and Leek Soup

Yesterday I made potato and leek soup, which is quite possibly one of most inexpensive soups you can make, and therefore perfect for the poor college student. There can be fancy ingredients involved--some versions of the soup call for a variety of fresh herbs and cream--but I made mine with whatever I had on hand. In other words, a poor man's version of a poor man's soup.

three leeks
two large potatoes
one cube vegetable bouillon
5 dl water
1 dl milk
salt, pepper, basil, oregano

 Wash the leeks and cut off their tops and bottoms. Peel potatoes and cut into smaller pieces.

 Slice them open along their length and rinse again, as there may be dirt stuck between the leaves.

Slightly brown the leeks in a pot. Add potatoes and water. Let it boil until the potatoes are soft. Cream the mixture with potato masher. Add milk. Add bouillon cube. (I didn't have any vegetable cubes and instead used a chicken cube. It worked just as well.) Add salt, pepper, oregano, and basil as desired. 

Bouillon is a present wrapped in silver paper.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


Yesterday I crawled out of bed and into the living room where Melissa greeted me from the table with cheery, "Good morning! Or should I say 'merry Christmas'?"
"Look outside."
 It was snowing.

Well, you know what they say, April snowfalls bring May phone calls.

Ever the Guest, Never the Host

My sister told me the story of one of her friends who could pack his entire life into a box; she greatly admired him for it and is currently trying to prune her own life of the unnecessary. It certainly is a thought-provoking idea and I am all for abandoning a conventional life of materia, but I find myself moved by a restless burst of independence--I am trying to nest, to gather about me my belongings in hopes of grouping them into something I can call my home, or rather 'my place' and arrange things therein as I want them.

I have been moving about so constantly over the past few years that I grow rather tired of that unsettled feeling. As I am quickly approaching the end of my stay in Amerikat, my thoughts turn constantly to 'the next location,' and even the things here--my half of the dresser, my desk--covered by my stuff and so obviously declared as belonging to me are beginning to have that accusatory look of 'not-mine-ness.'

This, my wise friend Natalie informs me, is a good thing; it shows that I have completed this stage in my life--clearing the level, defeating the boss--and I am ready to throw myself into the fray of new things.

Now all I have to do is finish well.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Business in the Front, Party in the Back

I sit once again at Starbucks in hopes of getting some schoolwork done, which works marvelously well provided that Melissa and I don't sit at the same table. I was in here not more than a week ago, when the barristas accidentally mistook a drive-thru order and made two Venti Ice Chai Lattes, to which Melissa said, "We'll happily take your mistakes." And they sold them to us for the price of a Grande.

The managerial staff came by an hour or so later--two men in crisp black and white checked shirts, the first one a fat man with a buzz cut from the nineties, the second shorter, handsome, energetic--and they spent the next few hours helping out with the orders, cracking jokes, monitoring efficiency, asking questions--like "Do you know what a dirty chai is?"--about the drinks, customers, the shop, taking a personal interest in their employees. Everything, I suppose, that a good manager should do.

And as if to grace us with his presence for a grand finish to the day, a young man with a newly cut Kentucky Waterfall stepped into the shop. He was well-dressed and had an affable, clean-cut look about him and a cathedral tattoo on his left shoulder; but the crowning glory of his personage was undoubtedly the mullet. He and his friend who stepped in with him knew Bailey, one of the barristas. She greeted him with a 'Hey, Nicholas' and a second, once-over look.

Bailey: "Do you like it?"
Nicholas: "It's terrible."
Bailey: "But do you love it though?"
Nicholas: "I do." 

The manager, attracted by this hair apparent, fell into the conversation with them--an exchange of words which ended with the final statement, "Jesus had a mullet." You can't argue with that one.

This time around there are no such interesting characters about the place, and I should be getting work done. I have to read Looking for Mr. Green and Langston Hughes's Montage of a Dream Deferred, as well as work on my paper abstract for the same class, get started on my fourth short story due on Thursday, and write at least the first five hundred words for the paper for Professor Anker's class. Have no fear. I shall prevail.

I was wrong. Two men just walked in. The first one, ready to settle down and enjoy some coffee, let out a sigh of disapproval and complained about the music. But the second, taller one turned to his friend. "Oh, come on. Real men like Norah Jones." He turned to Melissa in the corner. "Right?"
Melissa nodded vigorously in agreement. "They certainly do."
But, seeing no place to sit, they turned to head back out, the first one suggesting some other place of repose. The second one agreed, sadly. "But they're not going to have Norah though..."

This is the great thing about coffee shops. So many things to see, and so many things to write. I must write that I may notice and remember. And now you know, as well as I.

Palm Sunday or Psalm Fun Day?

Psalm Fun Day at church is always followed with a hearty meal and good friends.

 Christine sees the world through peace.

Palm Sunday is Phil's favorites day of the year.
"I am quite frond of it."

 Emily and Kyle share their thoughts on tissues.

Michal and Christine on the couch

Ben takes a moment to smell the coffee.

A helping hand

 Tea for two

 Cornflower eyes

 You ever have that feeling when what people are saying is going right over your  head...

The Brothers Videtich

 Melissa shares a special moment with Bobbie.

The intimacy increases.

"I'm playing little spoon to a cat."

And thus our Palm Sunday was celebrated with tacos and chocolate chip cake and vanilla ice cream.