Tuesday, December 21, 2010

CHEESE!

Oooh, Ross and I got amazing cheese and hangikjöt hampers from work as Christmas presents! How lovely and exciting!


It was all beautifully arrayed in a basket, but I dismantled it before taking photos. Oops.

BUT...
I can't eat any of the unimaginably delicious unpasteurised cheeses! NOOOOO!

Seriously dudes, I don't know if you understand how much of a tragedy this is. As I was putting most of it away in the fridge, my brain played me a montage of all the times I've enjoyed eating soft cheese: blue castello in a salad, roquefort and baguettes backstage in France, camembert and crackers in bed while watching a movie... Heartbreaking.

It definitely pays to triple check these dietary rules - K pointed out that the no caffeine thing has a pretty dubious basis, and sure enough, the booklets and internets all say a version of the following:
'The effect of caffeine on a developing foetus is unknown/ has not been studied well enough/ or maybe at all, now that we think about it, but you should probably not drink any, just in case it causes autism or albinoism or having the second toe longer than the first! GRARGH fear everything!!' Or you know, something to that effect.

Also, mum said someone told her the other day that ultrasounds cause ADD. Um. Yeah.

Anyway, I think I can at least eat the so-called 'jóla ostur'. Every year they make a special cheese for Christmas, and it says on the packet that it's in the havarti family, which is usually made from pasteurised milk! And also, I read that if you cook soft cheeses, that totally makes them okay! So, your best blue cheese, camembert and brie recipes in the comments, please!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

''Get pleasure out of life...as much as you can. Nobody ever died from pleasure.'' Sol Hurok

Completely unrelated title, but quite accurate as I am pretty content with life these days.
I wrote half a draft at Amma's, but I'm at Sigga's now, so I'll just post some photos from our walk today...


Have I mentioned that we're living in a Christmas card? The snow is piling up, and everything looks lovely... And the abundance of lights means that we're coping with the winter darkness pretty well. These were taken around 3pm, just the last slivers of light before nighttime.




I find it hard to get motivated to leave the nice warm house and go for a walk, but I always enjoy it once I'm out... I should write this fact down on my hand or something, it'd do me good to remember it!

Anyway, two course lobster meal tonight (okay that's a lie, they're langoustines, but whatevs): bisque followed by tails in a creamy mushroom sauce. Mmmm.... I don't usually like shellfish that much, but I think it's mostly to do with texture, and I don't find langoustines to be as bad as prawns... Or maybe I just have refined tastes (ha!)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and Vixen!

It is somewhat amusing what makes me motivated to write - I have three or four drafts lying around, covering among other things: The Drones (and how they're my favourite band ever), the funny lady at work who can't ever figure out when to go on her coffee break (and how she is hilarious, but nice) and fish-stealing etiquette (I was going to summarize it, but gosh it's an in-depth subject. Honest.)

But what will make me finish a post? What is the magical element that I will finally commit to print (weeeelll, not print, but you know what I mean)?
The secret ingredient is food - specifically, reindeer burgers. Yup, dinner tonight was Rudolph in a bun, and it was delicious! I made the patties similar to the old Betty's recipe - and in doing so realised how much of my brain is filled with pointless info from old jobs... What's in a Baby Blues burger, you ask? Why, it's lettuce, a burger patty, a slice of cheddar cheese with blue cheese spread on top, cooked mushrooms and onions, and BBQ sauce. A Bistro? Lettuce, patty, cheese, bacon, sour cream and smoked hickory sauce. Thanks for asking.

So anyway, reindeer tasted surprisingly good, different from beef but not too gamey. I'd like to try it in some other form, but it's a wee bit pricey because it's so expensive to hunt.

I was going to take photos of a finished burger, but got distracted by the eating part before I got the chance... I did remember halfway through, but there are few things less appetizing than badly taken photos of half eaten food.

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What else is there? Today I got some super tips on upping my fish cleaning rate at work, and they were awesomely helpful! I still haven't quite reached the average speed of everyone else - which was about 220 today, although I have no idea what that number actually means. Number of fish per hour? Number of smiley faces I could draw while you clean a hundred fish?
Does not matter, my number today went from 145 (which was a record for me at the time) to 178 - I just couldn't manage to get past that point! Maybe one day... A girl can dream.
So yes, keeping track of numbers does wonders for a competitive lass like myself... And this week has gone really fast at work, which is great.

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Oooh, another nice thing about work, is that there is a special staff discount at the co-op tonight, for all of the staff of KS and its daughter companies - which means Fisk! We get 25% off everything, so we're doing some mega Christmas shopping for all of us! It's a good business plan, because I wasn't really planning on doing much shopping for presents at the co-op, but now of course I will. Still, it's not anything they had to do, so I appreciate the thought. I like the little things employers do to make you feel good about working.

And that's it for now. Prepare for no more updates until the next time I eat a crazy interesting dinner! Or maybe I'll let you in on the secrets of polite fish stealing...

Monday, November 29, 2010

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Argh, the slackitude is damaging me! As the Icelanders say, I'm dying of laziness.

Anyway, what is up? This last weekend was pretty good, it was the official start of Christmas!  There is a particular date before which you're not supposed to put up decorations or lights - although I definitely saw one or two houses that snuck some lights up early, and I can't blame them! It is getting pretty dark, pretty early nowadays.




So on Saturday there was a big event in town, they lit up the Christmas tree in front of the post office, and all the stores had markets, hot chocolate and cookies either for sale, or sometimes for free! There was quite a lovely atmosphere, lots of kids running around having heaps of fun, and everyone was all smiley and happy.

Sunday we got things done: Ross put up lights on the front of Sigga and Amma's houses, we cleaned up the upstairs at Amma's (holy crap how nice is it to have space?), and Ross and Sigga decanted their homemade wine!



I had a bit of a taste, and everyone is pretty convinced it is a very drinkable vintage! Amma said it had an aftertaste of berries, she is a very professional wine taster... It is slightly more alcoholic than regular wine, as both Sigga and Ross told me after one glass each - and these are not wine rookies.



It's alright, Freyja will guard us from the wine - or she'll guard the wine from us. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Good news, everyone!

So. I have some exciting news. And it's more exciting than my usual news - 'today I saw a fish fillet and it was kind of in the shape of a wonky love heart'.
Yes. Even more exciting than that!

I think Boys Boys Boys put it best:

If you zoom in, you can see the bearded baby at the bottom.


Yeah! So Ross and I are about three months pregnant, although to be honest, I've been doing most of the foetus-carrying and nausea-having. It's actually not too bad, I feel a little bit sick sometimes, but mostly I'm just ravenously hungry. I do find myself craving food that just makes me feel like a stereotype - I made a raclette for lunch the other day. Raclette sounds fancier and more cultured than ' boiled potatoes, melty cheese, pickles, salt and pepper'.

Oh well, I can stand being a stereotype for a little while.

Anyway, I am gradually getting used to the idea. It's still a bit bizarre and surreal, but Ross and I are both really really excited and happy, in amongst all the terror.
Ah, terror is a strong word, deep down I'm still feeling like everything will be okay. Other people figure out how to raise children all the time, surely it's not beyond our capabilities!

Finally, I have a sonar scan thing, done at my first doctor's visit, but I have a feeling that not everyone wants to see my insides! So, if you're not into that kind of thing, look away now!



Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wedding and guess what? More fish!

Ooh, guess what? The other day at work, I got to try something new! The way they freeze the fish is: the fillets are arranged on a conveyor belt, which then travels through the freezer room for about seven hours. I got to arrange the fillets on the conveyor belt – woo! It sort of felt like a video game, maybe 'Tesselating-fish-origami-tetris'* – one side of the fillet had to be folded under, then you‘d have to arrange them as close together as possible... And on top of that, I just used the word 'tesselate‘ for the first time in, oh, ten years? Awesome.

* If anyone ever makes this game, remember it was my idea first. Also, I'd totally get the high score.

After lunch I got to go back to my regular job, the fish trimming. It was quite a nice change, my knives were all nice and sharp and they didn‘t have time to get blunt before the end of the day! Plus the variety made it feel like my day was cut in half – good good.

I seriously have so much time to think at this job. Not so much with the new stuff, as I was concentrating quite hard at first, but the trimming has become pretty much instinctive. So I did some maths – I get this page of statistics on my little screen, so I can see how many A-class fish I‘ve put in, what percentage of the whole fish I‘m using, what percentage goes to B-class, and so on. So I was calculating how many fish I did total (using total number of A fish and percentage of A-class to figure out how many B fish I had), how many fish were done in the whole line, how many fish I must have messed up to get an error percentage of 2.1 (oops, SIX! Dang!)
I am such a nerd.

Also, you know what passes the time?  I sometimes pretend I‘m working in an office. Maybe an office under the sea? My inbox is full of fish, I sit at my little desk and cut them up, then I file them under awesome fish and not so awesome.  It makes me giggle.
So I had a pretty fun day – I think I‘m quite good at entertaining myself with nothing but my brain...

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Today is Maja and Jason's wedding -  it is so exciting and I wish I could be there! I'm sure it'll be an amazing and beautiful day, it sounds like they were pulling out all the stops to make it really special... I'm eagerly awaiting photos and video, I think Maja will be a gorgeous bride. So why don't we all raise our glasses (what, you don't have a glass of champagne next to your computer at all times? Shame on you!) to my lovely cousin, her charming husband, and all their future happiness!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fry, fish and second hand clothes...

Oh thank goodness, Stephen Fry explained that whole dealie with the misquoting. Cue huge sigh of relief from myself, Vicki and Sigga - we figured it was all a mistake, anyway.

What else? Ross and I have tomorrow off, which is awesome as there's a Red Cross market which will have to sate my op-shopping needs for the next couple of months! I'll need all the time and energy I can muster... They have the fantastic deal of all the clothes you can fit in a bag for 1500kr (twelve-ish Australian dollars, I think.) Last time I deeply regretting not just grabbing random nice materials to fill up my bag - who knows, maybe one day I'll learn to sew.

Hmm, other stuff... Can't really think of anything. We've both been working working working, and my work stories are pretty much about fish, worms or a horrible combination of the two. The high points feel good, but are pretty average, such as 'the time I got new gloves after I cut holes in the fingertips of the old ones' and 'the time my extra break coincided with a whole stack of huge and annoying fish to clean, then as soon as I came back, there were normal cod again'. Small pleasures.

Also on the list of seemingly small things that make me unbelievably happy - Amma dug some amazing snow boots out of her shed. I think Anna owned them when she was here, and Amma didn't let her take them home, because they're so bulky. They're fantastic. And warm. And you can fit in them while wearing woolly socks, OR, as I discovered today, SLIPPERS. I am the most happy human there has ever been.

Anyway, Sigga has just cooked an amazing dinner, I must go and eat it. What a good life.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Being a lady is an attitude. ~Chuck Woolery, Love Connection

Have I mentioned that I love this country? October 24th (25th this year) is Kvennafrídagurinn, or Womens' Day Off, where ladies all over the country leave work early to protest the gender pay gap that is still present in Iceland and elsewhere. You get to leave work at 2.25pm instead of 4pm, this percentage.of the work day is the same as the percentage difference in pay between men and women. I can't say I've ever worked in a job where I've encountered a pay gap like that, but it's important to be aware!

Apparently during the first one in 1975, the country pretty much came to a standstill - no one was sure how many women would participate, but it turns out most of them did. Yay Icelandic feminists.

Last night there was a program on TV about Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, who was the first female president of Iceland in 1980, and the first woman in the world to be democratically elected as head of state. I didn't watch it last night, but Amma taped it, and I saw a pretty interesting interview from the presidential campaigns in the eighties. The news dudes asked about 'whether the presidency is really a two person job, as the first lady generally plays a pretty important role in welcoming other leaders, hosting events and accompanying her husband on trips around Iceland and abroad...'

The three other presidential candidates all agreed and said it was important to have a housewife helping out with official functions and whatnot.
Vigdís said that although she didn't have a wife and was unlikely to get one anytime soon, she felt pretty sure that she could somehow manage to get everything done. And that if a travelling partner was required, she had an eight year old daughter who would be perfect for the job.
Argh, I haven't phrased it that well, but it was just a really cool, collected and obvious answer to a stupid, dated question.

So yeah. Iceland, home of awesome ladies. And also, me!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fish fish fish. And parties.

So, I have finally been busy working!

The fish factory is actually a pretty okay place to work - I felt really positive about the first day, although I think at least part of that was relief that I didn't hate it... It really could have gone either way, but it all worked out fine: Everyone is really nice, I get my own knives, there are lots of regular breaks, and the food is yummy - just a table full of bread and cheese and jam, a buffet of raw fruit and veg, and a fridge full of skyr and yoghurt, plus all the Kókómjólk* you can drink!

*Kókómjólk is a packaged chocolate milk drink, totally delicious and awesome. Ask Anna, if  you don't believe me. Mmm, Kókómjólk.

I also ended up working at functions on Friday and Saturday night at the bar down the road - which should have been fine, as the fish place is usually Monday to Friday. For the next couple of weeks, however, everyone is working Saturdays so that they can make up the hours over Christmas and New Years', so we can get paid holidays. Awesome, but also not.

Friday night was the closing party for the slaughterhouse; so there were many many drunken Icelanders, Poles and New Zealanders. It was a really fun night, everyone was in a good, partying mood, the staff were all really efficient and friendly, and the New Zealanders even did the haka! I got to leave at midnight, which I suspect was just before things started to get messy... Lucky me!

Saturday morning, Ross and I got up at five to go to work at six! I was pretty chipper for the first couple of hours, but was pretty much dead on my feet by the time we finished. Sigga, being the angel that she is, came to pick us up - it's about a five or ten minute walk, but at that point, it felt like the nicest thing anyone had ever done for me. So thoughtful.

I had a nap before the party, but I think I slept just a little bit too long - woke up completely confused and grumpy. Actual conversation between me and Ross:
R: Wake up, sweetheart.
O: Wha?
R: Wake up.
O: Oh. What's the time?
R: Five thirty.
O: Okay. Why?
R: Why what?
O: (pause) What's the time?
R: Umm...

Etcetera. We went around in circles for a while, then I eventually woke up enough to get dressed and ready. Sigga, again proving her sainthood, had already cooked the curry for dinner, and even made me some pappadums and rice so I could eat before I left.

This function was the Lions yearly party, less of a bawdy drunken feast than the slaughterhouse party, but everyone still managed to have a good time. I met a whole group of people who went to school with mum, all of whom were pleased as punch that I'd moved here. People always seem quite surprised and happy that anyone would choose to move here, maybe it makes them realise how lovely Sauðárkrókur is...

Anyway, I got to go home early again (early being midnight, the rest of them were working til four!) and came to Sigga's to unwind a bit before bed. Then I had the best sleep ever. There is nothing like that feeling when you're so deliciously tired from working hard, and you know you're about to sleep for as long as you want. Bliss.

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Also, check out what reader just recommended for me:
Holy crap, knitted skeleton! Google, if this is what comes from collecting and storing all my information, then keep at it!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Snow, ponies and the fish factory....

Whoa, Iceland got cold all of a sudden - down to three degrees yesterday and zero this morning. There's snow on the mountains, and it snowed a little in town yesterday!

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In other (good and less good) news, we are both employed! We both got hired by the fish factory, which is awesome as we were both getting a little bit bored of being unemployed (to be perfectly honest, I think I'm better at doing nothing than Ross, hard-working fella that he is...) Anyway, this job should pay okay, the hours are cool - 7am til 3.30pm - we're both pretty good at getting up early*, and I can still work at the restaurant next door every now and again.

* I can just about hear my Dad make a noise of disbelief - okay, so maybe some of us are a little bit more grumpy about it than others, but I do manage to get up eventually, honest!

The less good part is just that I am a bit of a snob about working in the fish factory, but at this point, I'll just be glad to get out of the house. Money is money, and it'll be nice to get some - I've heard it makes buying a house easier, too...

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What else? As I mentioned in passing above, I have some shifts coming up at the restaurant next door to Amma's. I had a training shift on Sunday night, which was fine. Food service is food service everywhere, so I felt pretty much at ease - except for one comment by the other serving girl. 

As I seated the customers, I'd usually ask if they'd like drinks to start - as you do. The girl pulled me to one side and told me to stop, as it was confusing and a waste of paper to take the food and drink orders separately. The better alternative is apparently to seat people, then do nothing for fifteen minutes while they decide what to eat. Yeeeeahhh, I don't think I'm going to start doing that...

Apart from that, it was fine, so I should be able to work there every once in a while when there are events on - for example, next week I'm working at the end of slaughter season party! Sounds like... uh... fun?

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Oooh, I didn't write about it, but I really enjoyed the horse feast we went to on the weekend. I haven't really eaten much proper fancy restaurant food, so it was a totally awesome experience - five interesting and different courses of horses! I wasn't a huge fan of the smoked foal tongue, but everything else was delicious, especially the salad entree with marinated horse, and the dessert of mare's milk ice cream and chocolate mousse. Yum. (For a full description and photos, see Vicki's blog).

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday morning...

And now you have The Velvet Underground in your head. Or maybe No Doubt. You're welcome.


So Ross has gone swimming again this morning - this is the third day in a row! He's been doing laps at the local pool, and says it makes his lungs feel good. This is no doubt a good thing, but I cannot imagine being outside swimming right now, there's still frost on the ground! It is a heated pool, but still...

Yesterday Ross and I went up to Tunga to help round up and sort lambs again. Luckily the rounding up is just from his fields, so it's not the all day pain-fest of the proper round up. Still, it's probably almost a kilometre of trying to run after sheep (to be perfectly honest, running a kilometre is way beyond my skill set.) So it's more like run run run, pant pant, wheeze, run some more, wheeze some more, run some more, hate sheep forever*.

*Not really, I love their stupid pretty little heads, and the delicious delicious rest of them.

Anyway, once all the sheep were in, we had to figure out which ones Andres wanted to keep for possible breeding next year. He had intended to write up a proper list, but it was still in the beginning stages, so what we had was an almost-random list of numbers that he would consult for every sheep. So Ross and I were grabbing a sheep, calling a number and waiting while Andres looked it up. It felt a bit like I was calling bingo... "oh God, that one just heatbutted me right in the legs, legs eleven."
"Ah you jerk, if you jump again I will kill you and eat you, six hundred and twenty five."

It was pretty good Icelandic number practice for Ross, as my uncle doesn't really speak that much English. So, day well spent, although my thighs are more bruises than regular skin.


By the time we'd finished, it was eight thirty and almost completely pitch black - there aren't any streetlights up in the country. So we made our careful way back to the house, then noticed the amazing stars! It's been pretty cloudy lately, but last night was icy cold and clear, and you could see soooo many more stars than I've ever seen before. Awesome.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Etcetera

Not much is going on... Ross and I have been job hunting. It's totally different to how I've looked for jobs in the past, ie. finding stuff I have experience in, looking on job sites on the internet... No, no, here in Iceland, we're pretty much just going into every place that has staff, and asking if they need more staff!

Often the answer seems to be no, the downturn is getting a little bit worse at the moment. I applied for a job at the hospital, and I got a rejection letter that said thanks, but the job doesn't exist any more! In the time between when they posted the ad and sent the replies, they had to cut back on a whole stack of jobs, so they're obviously not hiring anyone new. Bummer.

So who knows where I'll end up working? Hopefully it'll be somewhere that I can walk to work, and that'll pay me decent monies! Apart from that, I don't really mind. I have a couple of shifts at the restaurant next door in the next couple of weeks, just to fill in some gaps - I think that's a pretty good deal, I don't really want to work there full time, but it'd be cool to get some cash monies...

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What else? My mum left on Wednesday, which was pretty sad, but she was very brave with her goodbyes. Mum hates leaving, hates airports, and does not enjoy goodbye hugs very much, so it was very hard to see her go.
And then Ross' mum arrives tomorrow - she and mum will probably be passing each other at 30,000 feet sometime today. The post office goes up for sale (AGAIN!) this weekend, so hopefully this time around she'll get to buy it!

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Apart from that, there is not too much news. We're going to a horsey dinner next week, where every course is horse! Sigga has gone two years in a row now, so I'm pretty sure it'll be a fun night. Tonight we're eating (well, Amma is cooking, anyway) sheep's heads for dinner, so Ross and I will probably make some sandwiches instead. Yum yum.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ponies! Again!


Mum and Sigga are away for the weekend, so Ross, Amma and I went to Laufskálarétt with Maggi! It's like the sheep rounding up thing, but with lots and lots of horses instead! Whee!

It was completely packed out with people, so we didn't stay long. So many drunk men wearing jumpers with ponies on the front. Good times.


Ross and Amma


Show pony - LOOK AT MY PRETTY HAIR!


We ran into my mum's cousin Ingólfur, who is selling a house that we are quite interested in... He has another place down south where he lives, but he's up here for the weekend - it was cool that we just ran into him (although given the size of town, it was pretty much just a matter of time!)


This is the outside of the house, it's straight across the road from Sigga's driveway, away from the main road. It also backs onto the hill behind town, so there's quite a big yard - including actual trees! I really like this part of town, I can't really imagine living up in the 'hverfi' with the rich people. 

Anyway, hopefully we'll get to look at the inside of it sometime this weekend, then it's just a matter of waiting til we find out the price! I'm hoping we'll get first dibs on it, being family and all - pretty sure that's the way Iceland works...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! ~John Muir

So just in case you can't tell, I'm still on Sigga's computer, and have access to her quote site... Good fun!
This isn't really a proper post, just some photos from the weekend...

You can't see it here, but on the other side of Ross is a steep drop to a river. 





Meeeehhh...


Squished in like big woolly sardines!



 Bingo, the old sheepdog at Tunga. He has definitely seen better days, but he's still so fluffy and lovable. 
While we were herding the sheep off the fields and into the sheds, he got to pretend he was a big tough sheepdog like in the olden days - it was really cute!

Monday, September 20, 2010

''Feeling down? Saddle up.'' ~Author Unknown

I have some little stories about our first weekend in Iceland, and one epic tale of the horse-riding mayhem that is göngur.

Arrived on Thursday night, and ate some delicious roast foal at Sigga's! So cute and good-tasting. We chilled out during the day on Friday, did the barest minimum of unpacking and then went out to Bjarki's birthday party after dinner. Bjarki* is a dude that Sigga and Amma know through some sort of complicated and tangled Icelandic web. Anyway, he is lovely and married to a nice Brazilian-Japanese girl called Patricia, and we all had a great time at his party. 
They are both food scientists, so we had some really interesting food choices, most notably raw saltfish with teriyaki dressing, and hangikjöt (smoked lamb) with chocolate and chili. I have to admit I couldn't really get past  the weirdness of the hangikjöt - it wasn't bad, exactly, just weird.

* The name he uses is actually his middle name; his first name is Árnljótur. It's a pretty tough pronunciation, but there's also another reason - it translates to Ugly Eagle. Why anyone would put 'ugly' into a name is beyond me. Yay Iceland.

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On Saturday we went and herded sheep with my great uncle Andrés. It was an exciting but exhausting day. Sigga didn't come because she tore a tendon in her knee last week, courtesy of an angry ewe at the rétt. So it was just Ross, me, Andrés, his daughter Beta and her fiancée Benni. 

It was really really really cold when we set out at 6.30am, but after the ride to the meeting place, we were pretty warmed up and the horses were sweaty. We cooled down again while waiting for the other farmers to arrive, but it became bearable once the sun came up. 

As we started out over the mountain, everything was so lovely. Ross had a nice horse called Glampi (which translates to Sparkles - my little pony style), although he got a warning from Beta before he started -
''Look, this is a really good horse and everything... but... he likes to go fast, and he's done göngur before, so he's quite... sprightly.'' Which Ross was totally fine with, and I must say, he handled his horse really instinctively well.

My horse, Kilja (pronounced Kill-ya, this is relevant...) is probably the same one that I went on several years back with Maja - he threw me off that time, and once he got to the final stretch, he was pretty out of control and we were both cranky. This could totally be my fault, I don't think I really have the right kind of assertiveness that horses like. I have a feeling that they really need to know who's boss, so maybe I make them uncomfortable by not being boss enough. 

Anyway, we had a pretty good ride through the valley; found a few sheep with lambs, walked our horses through rivers and swamps, admired the amazing scenery... And then towards the end, it got a little bit bad.

 Just before the house where we usually get to stop and have coffee, Andrés got a call over the radio, saying that some sheep were escaping down towards the river. So while he stayed and watched the sheep that we were pushing forwards, he sent me to the river to head them off. Which I'm pretty sure I did, I saw a lamb and ewe heading in my general direction, and I pointed my horse at them and made lots of noise, so they turned around and went the right way again...
However, Andrés thought that there could be more sheep by the river, so I tried to head down that way, but my beloved horse decided that he'd rather be with his friends. He just got really edgy and skittish - when I tried to turn him toward the river, he'd walk sideways in the opposite direction. So of course I got nervous and tired, which probably made him worse. 

I met up with Beta and Benni, so my horse chilled out a little at being among friends, but then we went right past the coffee-break house (noooo - coffee! a trailer for the tired sheep! a toilet! some food! We had been on horseback for about six hours by then, I was DYING for a pee). But, I thought, at least we're getting close to the end. Once you reach Kálfardalur, you pretty much herd the sheep down a proper road - albeit a proper road on the side of a mountain - so the older sheep know that they're nearly home, and there are plenty of other riders to help out. 

However, Beta and Benni got called to the other side of the river to help with the sheep over there. So I tried to go back to meet Andrés and Ross, but my horse wigged out and refused to turn back. I couldn't even get him to stop and wait, he was just too antsy and annoyed with me. He kept whinnying to the other horses, and then Benni's horse would reply, and I'd pray that he wouldn't go straight off the side of the road to try to reach his friend. 

So yeah, clearly the horse was feeling my tension, so we just followed the rest of the riders and sheep, until they had to stop and wait for the riders across the river to catch up. This was also fine, I figured it would give Ross a chance to catch up. My horse, however, took the opportunity while I was off his back to start nudging me. At first I thought it could have been some sort of mild affection, or maybe his face was itchy, but no. As he kept doing it, I became convinced that he was just being a jerk and trying to push me over, so that he could then trample me. Or at least laugh a snide, horsey laugh.

Anyway, he didn't manage to live up to his lethal name, Ross turned up, and we eventually started moving again - I had to get him to hold my horse still so I could get back on, as he kept shifting forward at the last minute. We were definitely not friends. 

Because we took so long to get started, we were the last of the riders to go through the gate, and I worried out loud about whether we should close it behind us...  Ross decided to do the good manly thing and go back and close it, but since I was still riding Mr. Cranky-Mane, I just kept going.

I saw Ross head back to the gate, then I looked around again and saw them rocketing back in my direction, arms and legs a-flailing. Then, I saw nothing. He didn't catch up to me in the next few minutes, so I did what any formerly sane, exhausted, horse-scared person would do. I concluded that Ross had obviously fallen off his horse and broken his neck, and now lay paralysed and dying on the side of the road (Spoiler: he didn't fall off, and was therefore completely fine).

 My fears were supported when I saw Beta talking to the driver of the sheep trailer, most likely so that she could drive back and pick up the broken corpse of my husband. (Yeah, okay, I get melodramatic when I'm tired). I met up with Benni, who was wondering what Beta was doing, so I decided to just get him to lead my horse home, while I went back to find out what happened.

Turns out Andrés had turned up with some more exhausted sheep, and needed trailer lady to go back and pick them up. Everyone was a bit puzzled by me and my horselessness, but I got a ride back with a guy and his two little kids, who weren't old enough to ride yet. 
Of course, the car ride was excruciatingly slow, as we had to follow the sheep and riders back to the rétt. So I got to go into awkward and painful detail about how I wussed out of riding home, and I overreacted about my husband on a horse. Plus he was incredibly unimpressed that I didn't know the names for proper horse colours. Good times.

Anyway, I finally got back to the farm, where Sigga and Mum were waiting for us. Benni offered me my horse back, but to be honest, I was pretty much just trying not to cry in front of anyone, so trying to get back on that cranky jerk was the last thing I wanted to do. 
As it turned out, he freaked out on the way back to the farm, got away from Benni, and then almost pulled Ross sideways off his horse when he tried to grab him, much to the horror of everyone else. I didn't actually see any of this, as I had my head down bawling, but Sigga did some pretty exciting commentary. So I felt somewhat justified in being a teeny bit terrified of him.

And that was that. Ross and I were pretty much in agony when we got home, but we went in the hot tub and felt quite a lot better. Plus, for some reason it always looks better in hindsight. Pain endorphins? 
Sigga and I discussed it - you get to that one point on the road in Kálfardalur, and you're tired and chafed and sore, your horse is cranky, you've been yelled at and your boots are soggy, and you decide that you will never ever ever go on göngur again. 
And yet I know I'll be there again next year. Oh well, at least it'll be another funny story.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Moving on...

Whoa, it has been a busy and awesomely fun week!

I got back to London last Sunday night, and Ross and I spent the first part of the week catching up and spending some quality time together. Ooh, and packing! Our moving boxes got delivered while I was away, so we spent a day trying to sort out what we're taking and what we're leaving behind.


Apart from that, the week was pretty uneventful until we went CAMPING!


We played our last show on Saturday at the End of the Road, it was a really lovely little festival! Such a good fun times with awesome people - way better than a going away party, it was a whole going away weekend!






I was going to write all about it, but the pictures sum up pretty well - we just had some really beautiful and chilled out times with our best friends.
It was also great to finish up the band on a high. We played a fantastic set, and we all had fun and the audience enjoyed it - what more could we ask for?

Oh my gosh and then on the way home we drove past Stonehenge! We didn't actually stop and get out of the car or anything - luckily it's a pretty big thing, so you can see it from the road.



Ross and I finished the rest of our packing today, just in time for the boxes to get picked up tomorrow! We're having dinner with friends over the next couple of nights, then we leave Thursday - so exciting and scary and tiring, I am pretty much looking forward to just being all settled in Iceland...

On the other hand, I promise I'll make an effort to enjoy these last few days in London - maybe I'll even miss the place* when I go!

*I do have my doubts, there's not too much about London that I love. The people, however, are a completely different story... But I have extracted promises from all of them to come visit us soon!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Miscellany

I had a very busy day off today - wrote down a big list of things to do and then did most of them (although probably skipped the most important ones... Oh well.)

I mowed the lawn at Sigga's and Amma's, and picked some rhubarb from Amma's garden for our amazing dessert tonight - rhubarb, apple and berry crumble... It's going to be awesome!
So I definitely earned some brownie points, although I could have gotten more by not leaving tufts of tall grass behind (+10), raking up the grass that I dropped (+20) and whipper snippering the edges (+25). Oh well, Sigga is whipper snippering now, she said she'd enjoy the sunshine... She is too nice to me.

Took Freyja for a walk afterwards - she was unimpressed by my lawn mowing efforts, but was surprisingly helpful in moving out of the way when I needed her to. The temperature display at the swimming pool read twenty three degrees! No wonder I was so knackered. It does feel nice to get some sun, though.

Mum and I drive down to Reykjavik tomorrow, we're going to stay at a hotel in town and spend some quality time together - I'm really looking forward to it! My flight to London is on Sunday, and Mum will stay another night because Sigga has a meeting to attend in Reykjavik. It's good that Mum doesn't have to drive back on her lonesome, as she doesn't seem to enjoy singing in the car as much as I do*.

Then Ross and I will have to pack up all our gear and get ready to come back here to Iceland! And we'll have to say goodbye to all our dudes in London - I hadn't actually realised that part until I started typing it. Man, that's going to suck. On the bright side, it's not terribly far away, and I'm pretty excited for everyone to come visit us over the next year or two!


*That's one of the big things I miss about Australia - driving around and listening to music and singing like an idiot. So much fun.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hodgepodge

Oooh, Sigga has a brand new computer and my camera is out of batteries - so you get a picture of the edge of my Moebius shawl, and also the top of my face, webcam style! Yes!


I'm working by myself tomorrow, so hopefully there won't be heaps of visitors. It's been really quiet the last couple of days, hence making some awesome progress on my shawl! I ran out of grey, so I stole some red yarn from Amma* and used it for a lace type row. It made a pretty cute almost heart-y pattern - I am so pleased with how it's turning out!

*I then told her about it, so clearly my thieving skills still need some polishing. My breaking and entering skills are fantastic, though - Mum and Amma were still on their way back from Akureyri when I came home from work, and I forgot to take a key with me. I climbed in through the kitchen window, with Freyja barking at me from the other side of the kitchen bench the whole time! Success!


So it's been a good day.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

If you want to be happy, be. ~Leo Tolstoy

Had a busy busy weekend, but lots of fun!

Yesterday I got to have the morning off work, which was lovely! I slept in a bit, but not heaps. You know how most mornings when you wake up, you just want one more hour of sleep? It was like that, an hour was all I needed to wake up and feel like a million bucks.

I talked to my friend Jade on Skype, and was again reminded that we live in the FUTURE, dudes! Every once in a while I realise that technology is awesome, and it makes me happy.

It was really quiet at work, so I got lots of time to work on my latest knitting project, which is a Moebius shawl - the process is totally blowing my mind. (Yes, I am slightly sheltered over here.) You knit it on circular needles, and somehow you knit in two directions at once! And then you end up with only one side! WHAT?! 

I still don't understand how it works, but it's totally easy to do, so I guess I don't really need to understand how it happens, just as long as it does. I've started knitting this one in grey acrylic-y wool, but I think it'd be fantastic made from some kind of lopi.... Orders in now, folks!

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Last night we all went to the Héraðshátið Framsóknarmanna - a shindig for Sigga's political party. It was pretty interesting, there were some funny sketches and a lovely dinner. There were also lots of sketches and jokes that went way over my head, including one bit where a table of three dudes had a poetry contest... 

Apparently it's a common-ish Icelandic thing, they have to make up funny four lined poems about various current events and people.. It was pretty impressive that they did it all on the spot, but there was one dude whose voice just grated on my ears. 

Geirmundur played at the end, and I stayed for a couple of songs before I headed home - piker! Mum and Amma danced until two, and I think Amma would have stayed longer if Mum had let her. Sigga partied with her party until the sun came up. Admittedly, it's still summer, so sunrise happens pretty early. Still.

Here's a nice picture of Mum and Amma - sorry Mum, you guys are clearly sitting in exactly the same pose...


There are some photos of me, but golly gosh I am the queen of having terrifying red-eye.

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Tonight we went to a family dinner at Eyrún and Rúnars. The family on my grandfather's side aim to get together once a month for a big dinner, and tonight's party was great fun! 
There are heaps of little cousins who are all really close in age and good friends, so there's lots of running around and screaming and playing football. Everyone seemed really relaxed and lovely, and the food was delicious - freshly caught freshwater trout and homegrown potatoes, followed by a berry cheesecake. Yum.

At the end of the night, they decide who gets to host the next couple of dinners - Ross and I have been volunteered for December. Hope we have somewhere to live by then! Imagine that!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Less talking, more posting!

Should really try to get into the habit of posting more! I feel like I'm always waiting for some big event that I desperately need to write about, but funny little stories are good, too, right?

Mum is here, and I have a day off tomorrow, and I just bought an awesome book of really interesting knitting patterns, and I'm crocheting a skirt! More details to follow!

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At work the other day, we served a bunch of little old Canadian ladies who were travelling together. There's quite a big Icelandic (or distantly Icelandic) population in Canada, and some of the ladies were visiting the farms where their great grandmothers grew up - pretty sweet.

Funny part one: When the ladies first wander in...

Me: Góðan daginn, hello. Can I help you with anything?
Nice little Canadian lady: No, that's alright, we're just taking a look for now. Thanks, though.
Kristín María, to me, in Icelandic: Gosh, these guys are really polite for Americans.
Me, to KM, in Icelandic: Yes, it's bizarre... (Light bulb above head!) Oh wait, they must be Canadian!
KM: Oh yeah, of course!

'Cause people from the United States are all rude!
Disclaimer: I know people from the US are not all rude, but hey, stereotypes. Plus we were right!


Funny part two: While they were looking at cakes...

Another little old Canadian lady: Oh hey, is this one a vínarterta?
Me: Yep. (Still not realising these ladies are sort of Icelandic, so I go on to explain - vínarterta is a white sponge-type cake, baked in big slabs that are then stacked on top of each other with jam in between. These ones have rhubarb jam, which is also how my grandma makes it...)
Canadian lady: Oh, so they're not real Icelandic vínarterta, with the prunes? My great-grandma used to make the real Icelandic ones...
Me: Buh? Uh. Okay then.

So the vínarterta that has been passed down from someone's great-grandma in another country is more Icelandic than the one that's being made by um, Icelandic people now? Cool.

Herdís explained the difference to me, but feel free to skip it if you don't actually care about the relationship between jam and immigration: the prune one was originally made at Christmas, or for big fancy celebrations, because prunes are pretty hard to come by in Iceland. They used rhubarb jam for the day-to-day stuff. But then since prunes are easy to get in Canada, this lady of course made that one into her day-to-day cake.
I found it interesting, anyway.


Funny part the third, just because the above reminded me of a funny story...

I read an article aaages ago (sorry, no bibliography) written by an Icelander who visited Gimli, Manitoba - a city founded by Icelandic settlers in 1875. He wrote about the way they did their best to keep up the language and traditions, but sometimes it got a bit muddled.

The part I remember was when he'd just spent the day with a third or fourth generation Gimli inhabitant. They were at their cars saying good evening, and the Icelandic dude said bye. The Gimli guy said 'Góða nótt, ástin mín!' which directly translates to 'Good night, my darling!'

Icelandic dude goes 'um, awkward...' but they figure it out. The Gimli guy learnt his Icelandic from his Amma, and that's how she always said good night to him! It didn't occur to him that the context was way off.

Makes me wonder how weird my Icelandic is - my parents moved to Australia in the sixties, so it'd be interesting to see exactly what contextual stuff I'm missing...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Anna!




My dear little baby sister is turning twenty one! Or rather, she already has, given that it's nearly tomorrow in Australia. I'm guessing that mum and dad aren't going to do the big chart of embarrassing photos at a party - luckily, I have a much wider audience, and all of Sigga's photos at my disposal. Muah ha ha ha!

So here's to you, Anna!




I can vaguely remember when Anna was born - I was still pretty little, but I think I was pretty excited about it.  I remember once at the house in Maddington, Dad and I were both home, and we noticed that she'd been quiet for a while... And when we found her, she was sitting in front of the mirror, surrounded by clumps of hair, and sporting a (quite adorable) futuristic clumpy looking haircut. Awesome.



My little mini-me and I didn't always get along. It was pretty much the usual sibling stuff - she wanted to hang out with me and my friends, and we then convinced her that we were zombies and that she would enjoy being a zombie after we ate her brains...
(Side note: I do not remember this alleged incident, but apparently threatening to eat your little sister's brain can create a lasting effect. Fact.)


Throughout all the bickering, Mum always used to say that although we may have thought that we hated each other, one day we'd be the best of friends.

Turn around, bright eyes....

So anyway, with me tormenting her and her earaches, Anna had a bit of a rough time growing up, but she still managed to grow up pretty awesomely. She has always been a tough cookie. I'm sure she had her feelings hurt many a time - too often by bitchy teenage me - but instead of taking it and then whining about it, she held her head high and stood up for herself. It wasn't a refined process when she was littler, but today I completely admire how strong and brave she is - she demands respect.


Above all, she's always herself (duh, who else would she be?). She stands up for what she believes in - if someone says something insensitive, wrong or just plain mean, she calls them on it. She will not put up with injustice in any form (like a superhero!)
She also likes coloured lycra (like a superhero!)



She has a lot of fun. She doesn't fuss too much about what people think, and she's always ready to laugh at herself and anyone else who deserves it!

She is brutally honest, and beautifully sweet and good hearted, and adorable. And I love her to pieces.


Happy birthday Anna!

P.S. Mum, you were right. Best friends.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sveitaball!

Had an awesome night last night, Sigga and I went to Gæran, which is a new music festival in Sauðárkrókur. It was the first ever night, and it was pretty rad.

It was held in the sheepskin processing warehouse in town - the word gæran means sheepskin. Just a little bit 'sveito'. Quite a weird choice of venue, but it was pretty okay, sound-wise. Unfortunately smell-wise: not so good. Blech.

The girls that I work with wanted to see this guy Svavar Knutur, so we got there pretty early - I'm so glad we did! He was a singer songwriter guy, just played an acoustic guitar and an ukelele (oh my God I need an ukelele!) His music was nice to listen to, and he was pretty funny in between songs, too.

I took a video of a song about getting drunk and playing shows in Germany - there was a giant breakdown in the middle where he was singing about being coerced into playing covers (on his ukelele!) on a train in Hamburg. Of course I had to get this bit:


But I had to stop taping because I wanted to sing along on the next time round!

All the bands were really different - there was a gothy metal one, then an Australian (awww!) singer songwriter guy who had just been touring with Svavar Knutur, then more rocky pop, then Icelandic rap (what?), and then GEIRMUNDUR!

For those not in the know, Geirmundur is a singer guy from the fjord - he has been playing at all the country dances for FIFTY years! I think everyone knows that he's a bit lame, but he's definitely a lot of fun! Everyone was pretending to be cool up until that point, but then as soon as he started playing, they all started dancing - good times!

Monday, August 9, 2010

How NOT to be my friend on Facebook...

Step 1. Be a random person that went to my high school for less than a year. Ideally, we shared only one class together in that year.

Step 2. Friend request me.
Step 2a. While I´m still hesitating about whether to add you, friend request me again.

Step 3. After I give in and add you, (because ah, what the hell, why not?) send me a message asking if I want to get some free tupperware! By hosting a TUPPERWARE PARTY.

No.
Just. No.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Thank you very nice!

Or næs, as it's written in phonetic Icelandic. Herdís has been saying the above in a hilarious Icelandic accent - don't worry, she's aware of how weird it sounds. It has become a funny catchphrase, so be prepared for me to use it way too often!

I have been having a pretty lovely time, work is still beautiful and fun. It got quite busy towards the end of the week, which was pretty awesome - time goes so fast when you're busy!

Herdís has been teaching me all the recipes for all her cakes and breads - I can't wait to use my own pancake pan to make some deliciousness (P.S. Mum: that's what I'd like from Australia, if you have any room left in your suitcase!)
A million tourists have taken photos of me in my swishy skirt, so it's only fair that you get one, too:



What else? Sigga and I took Freyja for a really long walk last night, it was good fun. We walked down to the fjord, then up the hill and across the fields and then home! While crossing between the fields, we had to climb through barbed wire fences - always nice.
It was fine right up until Sigga got ever so slightly stuck on top of a wooden fence with barbed wire. She nobly suggested that I go on and leave her behind, but I stuck around for comedy value, and photo taking opportunities. It all turned out fine, she just decided not to be scared of barbed wire... I'm still a bit scared of it, my (not-so) awesome packing skills have left me with one pair of trousers. If anything happens to them, I'm screwed.

On the way home we stopped and played on the swings at the playground - if it's been a while since you've been on a swing, then I highly recommend you go out right now and find one. It was awesome fun! We had a bit of a laugh about the fact that it was Saturday night and we were at the playground instead of out dancing, but I had a really good time...

Today we drove Amma's camper van to Hólar, where we hoped to find lots and lots of blueberries. There were quite a few there, but they weren't quite ripe yet, so we'll probably go back there when Mum comes over! Instead we went up the hill here in Sauðárkrókur, and picked three full containers in about an hour and a half - it was impossible to walk without stepping on berries. Sooooo good.

And that's about it! I'm working Monday to Friday this week, but some of them are short shifts, so I'll still have a bit of free time. Apparently there's some sort of music event happening next weekend, so if Sigga manages to get some free tickets, we'll go see some bands!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Working lady again!

So, I spent yesterday travelling from London to Sauðárkrókur, and then started my new job today! Just in case you were wondering, it’s probably not the best idea to have your going away party the night before your morning flight. The trip was mostly fine and uneventful, but it felt like a loooong day.

I ran into my cousin Ásgeir at the bus station in Reykjavík (because of course I did, it’s Iceland!) He’s always such a cheerful guy, so it was really nice to run into him. He has a job driving buses, and he volunteered to help us lug our gear to Sauðárkrókur after we ship it to Reykjavik - problem solved!

Work was really fun. My new job is at Áskaffi, which is so so so beautiful, it blew my mind! Today was apparently the quietest day they’ve had in ages - it was good for learning the ropes without being too stressed out. Tomorrow should be busier, though!

I worked with my mum’s cousin Herdís and my second cousin Kristín María (see above re: it’s Iceland!), they are both absolutely lovely. I think Kristín María and I were friends when we were little - we’re pretty close in age - so it’ll be great fun getting to know her properly.
The customers were all really nice - I guess being on holiday brings out the best in people. The atmosphere there is so laid back, it was a bit like having friends over for a tea party. 
And on top of all that, I got to bustle around in an awesome long swishy skirt. The more I look at that sentence, the more the word ‘bustle’ looks weird, but that’s what I was thinking when I wore it, so that’s how it’ll stay. I got to wear a cute stripy apron, too - I shall try to take some photos tomorrow.

And apart from that? I miss my Ross! I think I might have to give up on Skype and just call him - I’ll tell him you said hi!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Holy Moly!

Oh my gosh, you must look at this tiny pig!


He is TINY! And apparently, not for eating.


And apart from that - only a few more days until I go to Iceland! Exciting!

I'm gradually getting replies from the millions* of shipping companies I've contacted, one dude in particular has been nice and helpful and has offered a pretty cheap quote. Only problem is, by air, they'll only deliver it to Keflavik, where we'd have to go pick it up. He said he's waiting to hear back from a sea freighting company, so maybe they could deliver to another port up north?
Anyway, whatever ends up happening, I'm very glad that things are actually moving forward! Huzzah for progress!


*Not actually millions. That was a huge lie.
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What else? Went to see a friend's band last week, it was pretty awesome and fun - except that being thirsty and quenching your thirst with only beer is not that ideal, in hindsight. Ah well, we all had a good time anyway. The show was at this cool bar in Camden that had a great beer garden AND a roof terrace. So nice!

Oh man, the worst thing, though: I saw posters at that lovely pub for an Etsy event happening on the Sunday after I leave! There'll be bands and cupcakes and craft stalls, and I also got an email from Etsy saying that I should go and meet people and bring along a small craft project! I am so bummed that I won't be able to go... Maybe next time I'm in London! Or maybe I'll see how many Icelanders are on Etsy, and host my own fun craft party!

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We're having a mini going away party this Friday night, I'm going to make a vat of curry (maybe two?) and have another go at homemade naan bread! Awesome!

I think it'll be a little party, just a few awesome friends. I realised when we were looking for housemates that I really don't know that many people here in London. And most of them live in my house! Win! Maybe that's the reason I don't get out much - I have all the socialisation I need right here in my home.

Awwww, I just realised how much I'm going to miss everyone when I go!

Picture (again!) stolen from Daisy's Facebook. 
Cripes, guys, remind me to take photos at the party, so I can stop the mad thieving!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Busy busy busy.

So it turns out that Ross and I will be moving to Iceland sooner than we thought! We were planning to stick around here until all the shows were done, and then relocate in November, but Sigga suggested that we come over earlier and work the slaughter season. The more I think about it, the more I like it!

We were pretty much just biding our time until November - Ross is getting a bit sick of his job and is counting down the days until we leave.
We've finished tracking for the recording, so-band wise there isn't anything that we desperately need to be present for, apart from the two festivals we have booked. And for those, it's not too much drama to fly in and fly out. Maybe we can even convince the bookers to pay for our flights? (I don't think they'll go for it, but you never know!)


The plan now is to move all our stuff over after the festival in September, but I'm going even earlier than that - my aunt Herdís is short-staffed at her café in Iceland, so I'm heading over there at the end of July to help out! It makes sense, because I'm still not working here, so it'll be a great opportunity to earn some money, get better at talking and get some Icelandic work experience.

I'll then fly back for the End of the Road festival, then Ross and I will move over together mid-September! Awesome!

So I made a list of things to sort out before I leave - I got a fair chunk of it done today, now I'm just waiting for shipping quotes and all that other fun stuff.

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What else? I went to a Prince themed party on the weekend. I'm not really that familiar with his stuff, but it was fine because it turns out I had a dress with diamonds on, and a whole bunch of pearls - a la that one song.

 Photo swiped from Daisy's Facebook - dress ups are fun!

It was a pretty awesome night, except that the party was in South London, so it took us quite a while to get there, and even longer to get home! There was supposed to be a night bus every half an hour, but nothing came, so after an hour of waiting we just jumped on another bus and took a long and crazy roundabout route home - and just in case you were wondering, Trafalgar Square McDonald's at five thirty on a Sunday morning is a special kind of hell.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I'm married to a pirate...

Ross offered to pose for some of my Etsy photos...


The more I look at this photo, the more I love it/am terrified of it.

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Had an awesome action packed weekend and did lots of fun London-y things!

On Saturday night we caught up with Lindall and Danny, some friends of ours from Perth who just got married! They're an adorable couple and all around good folks. We hung out in Brick Lane, drank some cider and Pimm's... but had pizza instead of curry - pretty wild, hey? There seems to be a trend of people making pizzas with really really thin crusts - almost poppadum thin. It was pretty tasty, but a little bit unsatisfying. Ross said my pizza is better.

Sunday I went with Daisy and Victoria to Hampstead Heath, and we went swimming in the ladies' pond. There's this natural spring in the middle of the park, and it pumps out fresh (cold!) water into a series of ponds that people have been swimming in since the 1800s! The girls went there a few times in the last couple of weeks, and I can see why - it's so lovely and green and peaceful.

I wasn't too sure about this segregated swimming area thing, but it was actually really lovely. Everyone seemed so laid back and unselfconscious - I saw so many boobs. Seriously. More exposed breasts than I've seen before in my life.
Boobs aside, the vibe was really nice - no ogling or awkwardness, just a bunch of ladies hanging out and quietly enjoying the sun.

The pond itself was fantastic - I'm pretty sure it's been years since I've been swimming, and it was bliss! It's three to five metres deep throughout, so you're either constantly treading water or hanging off one of the buoys scattered around the place. They don't do anything to the water, so there are lily pads around the edge, and little moorhen chicks floating about. It somehow felt quite clean, though - I think the spring is directly under the ladies' pond, so it's the freshest and cleanest of the ponds. And it's the coldest, too! So refreshing.

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So yeah. Completely lovely and fun times. Today I'm watching Whip It and trying to crochet some cute and useful stuff. I think this might be the key to selling things...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Prawn Dream

Some bits and pieces, which, had I been trying to post every day, would have been posted already!

I was listening to Boys Boys Boys, because they are killer and it makes me happy to listen to them. Maybe a little too happy, I may or may not have been dancing a little bit while walking - this is not ideal in Walthamstow. All the scummy dudes who you try to avoid the attention of when you walk past? They notice you when you dance. Oh well, whatever, jerks. I'll do what I want, wear what I want, and I will kick you in the teeth if you try to imply that it has anything to do with you.

Anyway, my original (and less depressing) point was that I was listening to a live recording from back when I was in the band (side note: they should not have let me play a keyboard!) There's some fantastic in between song banter, my favourite is the beginning of The Prawn.

Backstory: this song was inspired by Jade's dream. She dreamed she was eating a prawn, then all of a sudden it became really big and she rode it through the ocean. Or something like that.
Anyway, she told everyone about this dream, sometimes repeatedly. So she asked her housemate if she'd already told her about her prawn dream, but her housemate thought she said 'porn dream' and her housemate was like, no, and I don't really want to...


Anyway anyway anyway. Jerry used to introduce the song with 'Everybody thought it was a porn dream, but really it was a PRAAAAWWWN DREEEEEEEAM!' (cue synth) It was pretty fun.

On the recording however, she says 'Jade told her friend she had a prawn dream, but they thought she said...' Pause as we all look at each other, confused. Then Bridget just yells 'PRAAAAWWWN DREEEEEEEAM!' Good save. It made me laugh out loud in the street, but I guess maybe you had to be there.

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I saw this great thread called You were doing it wrong. It's basically just everyone admitting stuff that they've been doing the wrong way for years.

There are lots of mispronounced words - salmon and almond are still pretty controversial. Apparently this is a common feature of kids who spent more time reading than interacting with other people*.  You'll learn one word that you read in a book (ep-i-tome) and then hear someone say a different word that apparently means a similar thing (ep-i-to-mee). Then eventually, when you're in your late twenties, it finally clicks and blows your mind.

*Hey, did I tell you about when I moved primary schools when I was little, and had no friends, and no idea how to make them? And possibly no desire to do so? I used to read babysitters club books at lunch, and when someone came up to me and asked if I wanted to play, I declined. A teacher had to take me aside and tell me to say yes next time... I am awesome.

There are also lots of life changing epiphanies, which are less funny, but kind of nice. My favourite on the list (so far) is this: No one actually has it all figured out. Even if it seems like everyone else knows exactly what they're doing, they're not. They're making it up as they go along, just like you!
This is both awesome and terrifying, because I had assumed that there were some all-knowing adults around somewhere, taking care of everything. Guess not.

 And then there's people summing the whole list up really well: "This thread alternately makes me feel superior (how could you not know X?) and like a complete dribbling moron."

Mine: I didn't understand the word askance - like, 'he looked a-skants at her', as in, he looked at her with a side glance. Kristinn explained it to me when I said 'ask-ance' - I always thought it meant looking at someone questioningly.

Also: Her-me-own vs. Her-my-oh-nee. Ah Harry Potter, I'm glad they made you into movies.

And finally: It's better to be happy than to be right. For me, anyway.

How about you? Entertain me with stories of things you didn't know that you didn't know.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sunny #2

Ross and I had a lovely weekend, we celebrated being married - thanks for the well-wishing, well-wishers! We went and had a picnic in Greenwich and looked at all the markets, then took a ferry back to town. The weather was gorgeous all day (all weekend, in fact) so it was great to get some sunshine.

We came home and Ross fell asleep at 4.30pm. Awww... Poor little guy, he was all tuckered out.



And then I made a scorpion!

I realised once I finished that I forgot to look at a picture of a real scorpion for reference. Never mind, what it lacks in anatomical correctness, it makes up for with smileyness. And I feel it captures that sense of fun that people get from stingy arachnids - don't you?

EDITED TO ADD: Cripes, I'm short two legs! Ah well, I'll stick some on tomorrow...



I also made a burger, but I haven't put it on my etsy yet. It seems like every man and his dog is selling a knitted burger, so I have to make mine stand out. My photos of it were all pretty average, so I'll make sure I take some good ones tomorrow!



What else? I've been job hunting a little bit, and also trying to figure out if it's possible to save money by doing lots of bits and pieces instead of one proper job.
If I can get this crafting thing going well, selling stuff on etsy and elsewhere, then I can just work a few nights a week at a pub in the village. One of Ross' friends from work is running a fashion label on the side, and he sometimes needs people to do odd sewing jobs...

I think I could make it work - it helps that Ross is definitely making enough to pay rent, so there's not too much pressure. Except for the whole 'saving to buy a house' business...

It's so hard to decide how much I value money. On the one hand*, I should probably just work my ass off at some job, any job, and try to make as much cash as I can before we leave. On the other hand, I'd like to try this out, and see if I can find a compromise between happiness now (doing what I love) and happiness later (financial security).

*Of course, according to that hand, I should probably not have quit my previous job. Stupid hindsight-y hand.


Hmm... I think I'm too much of an optimist to not give it a go. Whatever else happens, I've always felt pretty sure that everything will work out. We'll be okay.

Friday, July 2, 2010

(* v *)

I sold some things on etsy - I am almost exactly like some kind of internet business lady! Granted, one of the things was to a friend in Australia, but still...  I've made enough to pay for my listings, so that is a win in my books!

Joe did some promo for me on facebook, which is pretty awesome - a friend of his wants me to make something for her little nephew! Sweet!
He also used the Snowman profile, which has waaaaay more friends than I do. I wonder how many Snowman fans are into crocheted toys? We'll find out soon...

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I've been trying to fix up my Paypal - for some reason my bank account hasn't linked up properly. I can still pay for things, but when I get paid, the money stays in my Paypal account instead of going into my bank account - I guess it's a bit like one of those enforced savings accounts, which is totally a good thing, right? All the money I make from selling bits and pieces goes straight towards important things!

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Joe and Maja are going to be moving out soon, maybe at the end of July or August, depending on when they find a place... We've been looking for housemates, but I really don't know that many people in London.
Hajni, this girl I worked with at Spring, said some friends of hers were looking for a place right away, but I feel a bit weird about people I don't know moving in. Or maybe it's because I would be the one who brought them - I don't want the responsibility if they turn out to be jerks! I'm sure I'm overthinking it, they're probably lovely people.

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Ooops, I have a confession to make. I drafted most of this yesterday afternoon, but instead of finishing it off and posting it, I left it! Yes, here we have a demonstration of how well that peer pressure worked for me during June - without it, I just don't get stuff finished...  Hmm, that sounds really serious and sad, but it's actually fine! Just interesting...

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Oooh, today I managed to stream ABC radio 720 through the computer, so that I could listen to Bridget and Gabby sing live! It was totally awesome, they sang so beautifully it gave me goosebumps. I'd love to see them play again, they have a six piece band now, including my friend Erin from my primary school clarinet lessons!

Also today I tried to crochet a hamburger, but unfortunately I didn't have any bread coloured yarn... So now I have a bunch of hamburger fillings instead.


No onions though.