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I don’t even HAVE an excuse

9 Nov

…for not blogging in so long.

Currently, it’s the beginning of November (2013) and I’m in a wine bar in Newark, NJ passing the time with cheap white wine and snooping on other peoples’ conversations.

I would be lying if I said that nothing worth blogging about has been happening with me and Ben. Most lately, we’ve had a bomb Halloween party that had more people at it than we thought we knew in Stockholm. I, personally, have made a decent amount of friends that I’m really going to miss when it comes time to leave Sweden (no matter how much I tend to complain about how Sweden is.)

Anyhow. This is my outdated vow to try and keep up with this blog from here on in. I could give you all the reasons (excuses) that I stopped updating the blog in the first place, but no one even cares.

Anyhow. I appreciate and love you all that have been reading the blog (even if it’s, you know, never.)

xx-

OH HAI!

16 Jan

WELL it’s officially happened. I have become too busy living here instead of being bored to the point of actually keeping up with this blog (sorry for the false hope, ppl.)

SRYABOUTTHAT.

Anyhow. My mom and gramma Marie and gramma Kathy are here! They got here Friday and they leave this Saturday morning coming up. We haven’t been here for that long (three months. I know it seems like a long time, but with the combination of a billion kg of snow and limited daylight my ability to discover Stockholm effectively was limited.) WHATEVER, it’s been fun to take them around to the few things that we like to do.

Ben and I have been cooking something different for them every day (yesterday we made dough from scratch and everyone made their own pizza, Monday Ben made chili and cornbread, Sunday we made a buttload of bruschetta toppings and toasted baguette, Saturday we made a big pork roast with roasted veggies, and Friday when they got here we made them spaghetti since it was quick and we kept them out all day shopping and sight seeing.

We also made a little scavenger hunt for them when they got here so they could find some little treats and OHYEAH tickets for a two day cruise to Helsinki, Finland (we leave today!)

All in all, it’s been fun. I know I keep saying it but I’ll get pictures up I promise. Probably not this weekend, and probably not during the week next week (Monday I start gym/class/work all back to back to back from 6am to anywhere from 5-7pm.) 

Potential good things about being so busy:
-gym will automatically be in my routine and will be finished first thing so I don’t have to have it hanging over my head
-I have to learn how to make my own granola bars so I have something to eat on the train between class and work so I don’t pass out while singing childrens’ songs to three year old mini-Swedes (I’m actually really excited about doing this. My mom even brought me a bag of flax seed from the states that I had left there when I moved.)

so i’ll get pictures up next friday or saturday AND BREAK!

xoxo-
Val & Ben ❤

Thanksgiving, Christmas cookie party, etc!

5 Dec

It happened, I finally forgot to post in the blog for an extended period of time. I can promise I’ll try to not let it happen again, but sometimes I just don’t have much to say. And like I said before, I don’t like to post without pictures. It’s not an excuse, I know I know.

So many things have been happening lately! (Well, it feels like a lot of things but I don’t really remember what I wrote about last time so there might be some repeating. Sue me.)

Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was good. I was a bit worried and kind of not TOO excited about it because I’m so used DSC01936to having big family Thanksgiving with a million people, and Ben is used to having the same thing down in Kentucky. We were trying to get a few people together that we met through the film festival but nobody seemed that interested in getting together, plus we didn’t want to have the get-together here because of all the white furniture. And I wasn’t trying to put rules on how people drink their red holiday wine. As a result, no get-together happened. DSC01934Ben still took off work, though, and we got bunch of ingredients together and made ourselves our own little Thanksgiving feast – 100% from scratch! We had green bean casserole, mashed potatoes with carrots, stuffing, mushroom gravy, purple cauliflower and broccoli casserole, and we got a Swedish farm raised 1.3 kilo chicken for Ben. (They did sell turkeys here, but they were all 15+ pounds and we didn’t think that’d be one of our best investments.) So we cooked all day, watched a bunch of Christmas movies, and then after we ate we spent the night skyping with our families! It was a really great holiday. Ben also decided to work from home the day after so we had a nice long weekend together.

Christmas Cookie Party. One of Ben’s coworkers has a Christmas cookie party every year, DSC01964where him and his girlfriend (wife? I’m not sure) invite a bunch of people over and everyone makes 2 or so batches of cookies each and have tea and feuerzangenbowle. (I set a link up for wikipedia if you want to read all about it.) Basically feuerzanenbowle is when you make hot spiced red wine and then burn a solid cone of sugar doused in 160 proof booze over it and the caramelized sugar drips DSC01987into the wine. It was pretty tasty, but between the cookies and that it was SUGAROVERLOAD time in my belly. After cookie baking but before the fire wine, Mattius went outside and cooked up a bunch of German sausages on the grill (even though it was freeeeeezing out.) It was nice to meet some more people that Ben works with, and I think sometime soon we’re going to be going out with one of them, an Irishman, for his birthday. (Irish coffee, plzthnx.)

Last volunteer party for SFF. The film festival is officially over (and has been for a while, OH.) We went to the last party and had a couple drinks and danced with some Swedes. It was at the KGB bar again. And it was pretty rad.

In other news, Ben got word that he got the grant that he was wrote the proposal for back in August! And I officially have a job babysitting two cute mini-Swedes a couple days a week! This plus living in a cheaper apartment come March is all together going to make our lives exponentially easier, with an added bonus of hopefully having our student loans paid off by the time we leave Sweden!!

Other than that nothing much is happening besides a small blizzard outside (it’s really just snowing a lot, but it’s accumulating a lot faster than it does it Pittsburgh because the temperatures don’t fluctuate here the way they do there, so once it’s freezing outside and it snows, the snow doesn’t ever really melt. Upsides to this: snowmen that don’t melt, no gross mud puddles, good picture taking all the time, and Ben and I don’t have to drive anywhere bc we just ride the train.)

I’ll try to keep up with everyone a lot more!!
xoxo –
Val & Ben ♥

DSC02000

Pittsburgh Road Rage

14 Nov

I know that I’ve moved away from the states, and I’ve taken this as a given indication that I don’t have to be reading/hearing the Pittsburgh news every day, or keeping up with what’s happening in yinzer town. However, when I see an armload of friends on Facebook talking about a local getting the living shit kicked out of him by yet another road rager, it gets to me.

Too many people have been the victims in stupid incidents by drunk (or not so drunk, just assholey) people that don’t know how to be responsible when they’re behind the wheel of a 2 ton vehicle. There was a really horrible week in Pittsburgh this past July where almost every single day of the week that someone was hit by a car, and usually the person driving didn’t bother stopping.

And before that in May a man hit someone so hard that his bike was stuck in the grill of the car, and he drove off anyway, leaving the poor guy for dead on the side of the road like a piece of roadkill.

And then in September right before I left Pittsburgh:
Biker’s throat slashed in SouthSide

Now I have to hear about Dave Whaley, the owner of Dave’s Music Mine in South Side, getting assaulted by some moron that felt it appropriate to almost run someone over, and then stop the car and proceed to beat him unconscious before getting back into his car and driving away. See the news story here.

A couple of friends of his have set up a Facebook group attempting to do some fundraising for his medical bills since he doesn’t have health insurance (that’s how we roll in America, folks!) They’ve raised about $6000 so far, but I can tell you first hand that that is not going to be NEARLY enough to cover all the treatments Dave will be needing. I got hit by a truck while riding my bike about a year and a half ago. I was lucky, nothing broken, I didn’t need surgery, my brains weren’t scrambled – but I had some really fun medical bills following me around ($54000 – that’s right fifty-four thousand dollars.)

Moral of the story, unless this guy is caught, Dave’s going to be haunted by the bills that are racking up every day. Any help he can get will be greatly appreciated.
The link to his Facebook group is HERE
and the link to the fundraiser that his friends have set up for him is HERE

just a quickie – oh, and did I mention NaNoWriMo??

24 Oct

OKAY – I’m going to confess I still haven’t fully made up my mind if I’m going to commit to NaNoWriMo this year. (For those of you that don’t know what that is, it’s a challenge to write fifty thousand words (about 200 pages) in the month of November. Turns out to be about 1667 words a day, which is hard work to keep the creative brain juice flowing that consistently.)

ANYHOW. I have started another blog, a forum some might say, and I’m really looking forward to everyone’s input about how they’re preparing for NaNoWriMo, and as the month gets going, their experience with it. I’m excited to hear from some NaNoWriMo virgins, as well as some seasoned veterans. It knocks me back to where I should be viewing myself as a writer (eeeeeeven if I just write for myself. let me have my hobbies, kthnx.)

SO if you are so inclined click this link:
http://nanowrimoabroad.wordpress.com
and let’s write together.

-Val

p.s. I added the link to the blogroll on the side. I haven’t really had much time to add anything else on there so far, but get on it! xoxo

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