Sunday, October 28, 2007

It's applesauce season!

The day I came back from Denmark, feeling melancholy, as always, Scott took me to the Plymouth Orchard cider mill. We got apple butter, cider, and a bag of apples. I would have been even more in the mood if it hadn't been almost 80 degrees and if people hadn't been wearing T-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops. But things have gotten chillier since then, so I'm happy.

Anyway, here's what we did with the apples, and I recommend that you try it, since it makes the best applesauce on this earth. Just dump the following into a slow cooker, in this order--

10 apples, peeled, wedged
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 can ginger ale

--and then turn it on 'low' for six hours. After it's cooled a bit, mash it up a little bit with a potato masher and refrigerate.

Ooooooh, boy. Not too sweet. Not too tart. Not too cinnamony. Just perfect.

The perfect taste of fall.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Halløj from København!

Well, I don't have to worry about my mother's computer any more... I have my own! My extraordinarily generous dad presented my sister and me with new laptops as early Christmas presents. Unbelievable - and fabulous! I'm sitting in my room (yes, the room that was once the "my room" of my teens) rattling out an e-mail on my new HP laptop. Outta control. Thanks, Dad!!

Haven't been doing a single touristy thing... it feels so normal and natural to be back, hopping buses and trains to get wherever I need to go, shopping, peoplewatching, stopping for a coffee or a pint, moving on. This is the life. Hurray for vacations at home.

Have been twice to Halloween Tivoli and will be going again, too. I think the Tivoli Gardens must be the best place on earth. Scatter my ashes there someday, would you, someone? There, it's in writing. Consider that my last will and testament.

Worn out from shopping and trying to keep up with my insanely energetic mother, so it's time for a brief nap before dinner. Ahhh, I'm living the life of Riley. Or I guess the life of Østergård or something.

Oh - and I saw the "new" James Bond movie last night, finally. All I can say is, Daniel Craig is one hideous man. Are people seeing something I'm not? Is he attractive to some people? He looks vaguely ape-like to me. My mother agrees.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Kulturnatten 2007

Settling into life in Copenhagen, snugly installed in my old room at my parents' apartment.

This evening was Kulturnat (Culture Night), where you run around and check out all kinds of events all over town, rather like a huge version of the Ypsilanti New Year's Jubilee! Thousands of people out on the town... musical groups everywhere... special art and sound installations... torch-lit tours of graveyards... etc., etc. My mother and I saw a group of ruddy-faced, bearded old guys singing shanties! You couldn't help but beam, watching these happy old fellows roaring away.

Saw a couple of "regular" choruses as well, one of which sang a couple of Poulenc's weird little choral pieces based on surrealistic French poems. That was a true treat. And at one point, a chorus surprised its director by singing her the Danish birthday song, which I tend to torture my colleagues with at work... only tonight I learned that there are in fact three verses. Leave it to a chorus to do it right!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Experiment at the laundromat

Last night, I went to the laundromat. I was only one of two people there, other than the attendant, and the other person was reading a textbook, although I can't imagine how he could hear himself think. This is because the television was screamingly loud, worse than I have ever heard it, and tuned tyrannically to a marathon of The Family Guy.

Now, I don't like cartoons. But there are some cartoons I outright hate. Those are the ones that pelt you with incessant sarcasm in unbearable little screeching voices. Add an unspeakably loud volume and you have a nervous breakdown waiting to happen.

I suppose my experiment was somewhat passive aggressive. I could have demanded that the attendant turn it down, and I was actually going to, at first, especially after the only other customer left. But then I realized he was folding a huge order of uniform shirts and watching the television himself, hooting and guffawing every so often, and I thought, how can he stand it that loud? Can't he tell how insanely loud it is? What about when the commercials come in? They're almost worse! ARE YOU PAYING TOO MUCH FOR CAR INSURANCE? DEPRESSION HURTS! NOW AT DENNY'S!

I started going outside and watching my dryers from outside the window. I would go in, occasionally holding my ears (just to see if something that blatant might carry my message more clearly), quickly shoving more quarters in, and hurrying back outside. The whole place was vibrating with shrieky cartoon voices. The attendant glanced outside at me every so often, but otherwise paid no attention.

The experiment was over: the guy simply didn't notice or care.

When Scott came to collect me, he said, "Wow! The TV's really blasting in here!" and the attendant said, "Oh! Did you want me to turn it down?"


Scott saw this as an indication that he was a nice fellow who would have turned it down for me if I had only asked, and maybe that's true. Certainly, with my experiment completed, I will do that from now on.

I was just curious, that's all.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

There he swelled and there he died...

My favorite version of the weird English ballad where some poor sod has been poisoned... sometimes by a girlfriend, sometimes by a stepmother... sometimes by having been fed fish and sometimes spotted eels. The creepiest part is the dog swelling up and dying, which doesn't bode well for poor Lord Randall, who is already crying for his mother to make up his bed.

Lord Randall

"Where have ye been all the day, my own dear darling boy?
Where have ye been all the day, my own dear comfort and joy?"
"I have been to my stepmother. Mummy, make my bed, do.
Make my bed, Mummy, do."

"What did she give you for your supper, my own dear darling boy?
What did she give you for your supper, my own dear comfort and joy?"
"I got fish and I got broth. Oh, make my bed, Mummy, do.
Make my bed, Mummy, do."

"Where did she get the fish that she give you, my own dear darling boy?
Where did she get the fish that she give you, my own dear comfort and joy?"
"Hedges sought and ditches caught. Oh, make my bed, Mummy, do.
Make my bed, Mummy, do."

"What did you do with your fishbones, my own dear darling boy?
What did you do with your fishbones, my own dear comfort and joy?"
"I gave them to my greyhound. Oh, make my bed, Mummy, do.
Make my bed, Mummy, do."

"Tell me, what did your greyhound do, my own dear darling boy?
Tell me, what did your greyhound do, my own dear comfort and joy?"
"There he swelled and there he died. Oh, make my bed, Mummy, do.
Make my bed, Mummy, do."

"I fear that she's done you deadly wrong, my own dear darling boy!
I fear that she's done you deadly wrong, my own dear comfort and joy."
"She took me in, but she did me slay. Oh, make my bed, Mummy, do.
Make my bed, Mummy, do."

"What will you leave to your mother, my own dear darling boy?
What will you leave to your mother, my own dear comfort and joy?"
"I'll leave you my house and land. Oh, make my bed, Mummy, do.
Make my bed, Mummy, do."

"What will you leave your stepmother, my own dear darling boy?
What will you leave your stepmother, my own dear comfort and joy?"
"Bind her with rope and there let her hang, with the halter that hangs on the tree,
For the poisoning of me."

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Kiddie Korner

I used to love the Corner Brewery in Ypsi.

I was all about a new place where you can drink micro-brewed pints, where there's plenty of room, an enjoyable "beer hall" ambience, and a refreshingly low smoke factor, even outside in the beer garden.

Unfortunately, it's become a day-care center.

Sitting outside in the beer garden has become a children-watching activity. You can try to ignore them, but they're likely to run by with glasses of water and splash it on each other (and you) as they squeal at each other. This seems to be a favorite activity there. Sometimes they throw dirt instead, just to vary things up. Some nice daddy is forever rolling around on the grass with shrieking children giggling on top of him. And let's not forget the babies and toddlers. They're everywhere. More than once, I have given up an attempt to visit the bathroom because there's a passel of tiny, screaming girls playing in there.

Do I sound like a child-hater? I do, don't I? But I'm not. I'm a lazy parent hater.

Because where are the parents? Most of the time they're either working the tribe of Korner Kids into a frenzy or they're completely ignoring them.

And here's what happens when you sit around enjoying your nice pint with your friends and ignoring your kids:

You are, in effect, delegating babysitting duties to other patrons, who are also trying to sit around enjoying their nice pints with their friends.

Only now they're stuck with your kid. Your bored kid. Your tired, bored kid.

And it isn't the kid's fault. The kids are probably perfectly delightful. I like kids. It's just that there seems to be an awful lot of parents bringing their kids to this groovy bar and letting them go nuts. Hey! Free supervised day care, and you can drink beer! What a great place! Let's tell our other friends with small children!

Alas, poor Corner. I knew you well.

Well, I won't give up on the Corner yet. I'll just stop coming by after work. Instead, I'll start visiting later in the evening. I see they've got signs up now, politely requesting that people take their children home before nine. The tired little boy who took over the corner where we were sitting last night was prattling away at us till almost 9:30, when his parents finally and reluctantly decided to leave. And this was a school night, mind you! Still, I'm sure if I come by after nine, I'll have a pretty good chance of missing the daily kiddie party.

It's too bad: I used to love popping by there after work for a delectable post-work pint - and I'll miss those happy-hour prices, too. I probably won't go as often if I can only go after nine. But still, I'll go. I'll miss it otherwise.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I'm going to fail high school!

Here's what I would like to know. When do I stop having the dream where I'm in high school, I forget about the final biology exam, I walk in late to take the test, and I realize I have no idea what to write and I'm going to fail high school because of it?

And when do I stop waking up from these dreams frantically trying to think of ways to take the exam late or turn some extra assignment in so that I can actually manage to pass?

Because that's the part that amazes me: that it still takes me a full half-minute of awake time to realize that I did, in fact, pass high school. As a matter of fact, it was twenty years ago!

I don't really mind the waking part, actually: the relief is still such a pure rush when the realization kicks in! It's quite a pleasant way to start the day. Wheeeee! I am a proud high-school graduate! Let the day begin!

Still, I have to wonder when my poor subconscious can stop carrying around that biology exam from 1987.

Monday, October 1, 2007

A visit to the dentist

I had a dentist appointment today, and I was expecting the worst. For one thing, it's been a year since I last went. Secondly, the last time I was there, I had to schedule a crown: an appointment I later cancelled. Finally, I was advised that I really needed to floss because my gums were looking a bit dodgy. (Confession: I never floss.)

Today I went in, obviously full of trepidation... and was told:

1. that I had obviously been brushing efficiently because there was no indication of gum disease,

2. that I had no cavities, and

3. the tooth that had needed the crown is now downgraded to "let's just keep an eye on it" status.

I think it's all about the SoniCare toothbrush. I really do. That thing is magical.

But I do hereby vow to floss from this day forward unto eternity. Just in case my luck doesn't hold.