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Archive for December, 2007

Kim in snowVinteren kjører fremdeles på høygir i Milwaukee med mye kaldvær og enda mer snø. Og hvem kom ikke på besøk i går kveld om ikke Snømannen Kalle. Ved denne anledningen hadde han også følge av sine kone Snefrid og hunden Sno-op Dog…

SnowmanParet Lyngstad har allerede denne vinteren tilbrakt en del timer med å måke snø. Noe av dette kan vi selv ta på oss skylden for. Det er for eksempel lite hensiktsmessig å la snøen ligge et par dager mens en håper på mildvær. Da kan en fort finne et fire centimeter tykt lag med is noen dager senere og må til med hakke. En lærer så lenge en lever, og det er dessuten billigere å flytte snø enn å kjøpe et medlemkort på treningssenteret…

SnowFor oss som i flere år har bodd i strøk uten skikkelig vinter, føles kulden som en mye større utfordring enn den en gang var. Kim, for eksempel, går aldri utendørs uten superundertøy og har lagt seg til uvanen å gå til sengs med sokker på! Kim fikk for øvrig, som alle andre i familien, sokker i julegave fra sin bror Chris.

Vi har også blitt bortskjemt med peiskos og mye varme drikker.

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Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! Merry Christams! (hoping that the multiple greetings appropriately convey how excited I was/am about the holiday season)

After three years away from home during Christmas-time, I (kim) was pretty stoked to be back in a place that actually feels like i remember this time of year feeling — snow (of which there has been plenty), cold (unbearable until re-discovering long underwear), and radio stations that play Christmas music non-stop. And things decorated in red and green. Potentially overwhelming? yes, BUT, with our current lifestyle (i.e., unemployed) I could choose how much I wanted to expose myself to the commercial madness of the outside world, which turned out to be very little. So while we didn’t spend our enthusiasm for the season monetarily, I definitely harnessed the spirit and went to town in the kitchen (roping my husband in as well, of course). To modify for all those current and former Malawi dwellers to appreciate): I baked having to make NO substitutions to recipes, using 4 functional stove-top burners, having to make minimal (if any) adjustments for humidity, and with chocolate that was already chipped. (Insert sigh of contentment). I baked, Bjørn decorated, and tupperwares of sugar cookies, egg nog logs, nut strudel, peanut blossoms, church windows and whatever else has become Leyrer tradition in the last couple of decades made it to the freezer for safe-keeping. I don’t even want to know how many blocks of butter I went through (although I’m sure the scale will let me know in a couple of days)

Ummm, I definitely want to point out to anyone who may be reading this that the only way these weeks of baking were possible is due to our access to lots of spare hours and a fully stocked kitchen. I have no hopes of recreating this once we have other ways to fill our time.

The baking is one thing; what makes this the craftiest Christmas ever is the OTHER random stuff we made. My mom came home from her first graders with a big bowl of ornament-making-dough. So we made ornaments. You’ve already seen the gingerbread house — look long and hard at those pictures, because that was like a 3 day process of mixing, baking, and constructing. All contruction credit goes to Bjørn… as well as all credit for the creative touches (e.g. birds, dogs, and nuclear reactors present. Yeah, I don’t know either). THEN we had to paint the ornaments we made, digging up oil paints from my great-grandmother that somehow my parents had. (Incidentally, this reinforced to me that it’s okay to keep stuff for a long time because you never know when you’ll need it.) And Bjørn made a CD of Christmas music he’s collected. I felt like I was 7 years old leading guests around to show them the things we’d made–like it justified us not having jobs or something. (insert eye roll)

ANYWAY, creating is exhausting enough, but throw days of entertaining and filling platters and chopping things and last minute shopping on top of that, and, well, you have post-Christmas exhaustion. Couldn’t get out of bed this morning. Still haven’t changed out of my pajamas. Guiltily thinking about my siblings who are back to work today, but getting over it by eating cookies.

All in all, really enjoyed all the craziness. Especially emotional this year (cried through several church services), but focused on appreciating how much family I’ve been blessed with and how much of them I’ve gotten to see, how blessed I am to have married a man that doesn’t mind spending time decorating cookies and making ornaments (or at least pretends he doesn’t), and how thankful I am to be healthy and home with the ones that I love. (The last of my brothers came home today, and, of course, Bjørn and I still appreciate the days that we’re on the same continent.) Jul greetings to our Norwegian family — can’t wait for the marzipan next year!

Sigh. Now I’m crying again.

Peace out, and Merry Christmas!

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Why did I (Bjørn) get up at 5.30 AM this morning to get into a frozen car, being almost blown off the bridge across the river by the winter storm on my way to the pub in southern Milwaukee to watch 22 spoilt and grossly overpaid teenagers and other young brats chase a ball for 94 minutes in England’s Northeast? The short answer is: I really don’t know. I wish a did ’cause then I could probably start working on mending the problem.

A slight consolation early on in the game was the realisation that the players weren’t being told to stop playing every two minutes because of a five-minute commercial break as is the case in another sport that I’ve taken a liking to since moving to the US… 😉

pienaar_

Steven Pienaar

Believe it or not – I was not the only guy in the pub at this ungodly hour. As i stumbled into the pub with another couple of lost souls we were loudly greeted by the barowner: “You guys are f***ing crazy! But I love you…!” Well said.

As the game reached its dying minutes with Manchester United struggling to break the deadlock, Everton’s South African player Steven Pienaar (at that moment promptly named Milli Vanilli [legends] by a United fan!) ridiculously stuck out his foot and caught Giggs taking the ball away from goal and United were awarded a penalty kick. Ronaldo duly converted. That’s when I knew why I got up at stupid o’clock.

Well, I’m off to bed now, good night!

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PepBEtter å ha laget en meget improvisert gløgg i San Francisco forrige helg med kun firepepK ingredienser (appelsin, kanel, vin og sprit), som var overraskende drikkelig, må det nok bedre saker til for å imponere kona og svigersene. Så nå har en lake med 10-15 ingredienser (inkludert nellik, muskat og blåbær) stått og godgjort seg i to døgn!

Enda norskere blir jula med norskbygd pepperkakehus. pepJByggematerialene er riktignok ikke norske, men oppskrifta er. Og det ble gjort for en pris. Det øker ikke akkurat byggetempoet når malene må konverteres fra centimeter til tommer, melet fra gram til kopper, fløten fra dl til ounces og temperaturen fra Celsius til Fahrenheit…

Kim og Bjørn Magne laget deigen sammen, Kim hjorde det meste av kjevlinga og BM konstruerte et improvisert vedskjul. Byggematerialene ble for øvrig meget mørke, da amerikansk sirup er langt mørkere enn den norske!

Dag to fikk vi hjelp av Kims søsken, Jon og Mandy. Jon lagde mannen som står i døra og drakk gløgg – en gløgg som ikke smakte så himmelsk som den burde med tanke på alt arbeidet. Mandy hadde med seg proft glasurutstyr og da var det bare å bygge hus!

Legg merke til mannen som står i stigen. Han holder på å feste lysene på taket. Det er ogsåpepM fugler på taket og en hund ved vedskjulet. En ekte norsk skigard måtte også til. Så nå er alt klart og julenissen kan bare komme på kjerringa!

God jul!

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Nick and BjørnLast weekend Bjørn headed off to San Francisco to visit Doctor Nick. Nick and I were best mates when living in Bruxelles 2003-5, and considering the number of dubbels, trappists and other exquisite Belgian beers and frites we have consumed together it is remarkable that we still look as young and handsome as we do… 😉

So it was only appropriate that already the first night Nick took me to a Belgian place to have some – guess what – beer and fries. On Saturday Nick I went for a long walk along Ocean Beach, where we watched some surfers and admired the vistas. That night we prepared Nick farewell-party (he’s leaving the US just before xmas) including making a deadly gløgg of only four ingredients (oranges, ginger, red wine and vodka!).

Elephant sealsOn Sunday Nick and I and Sarah rented a car and went down to Año Nuevo which is the home of the biggest elephant seal breeding colony in the world. December is the fighting season (obviously they fight over ladies), and we were hoping to see some blood, but that was limited to some sparring amongst the younger males (the older ones can reach 2,500 kilos!).

They are very lazy, yet impressive animals that have made a comeback after finding themselves on the brink of extinction. Today, there are more than 160,000 elephant seals while some 100 years ago they were down to 10- 100 individuals.

Thanks for a great stay, Nick and good luck fighting the tobacco lobby cretins in your new job in Heidelberg, Germany!

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Welcome!

Here’s the very first entry of Kim and Bjørn’s blog. In the name of keeping friends and family across the tectonic plates informed about some of our activities we hope to update our blog regularly. We hope that you will like it and would love to read your comments! Kim and Bjørn

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