Sunday, May 29, 2011

Something old, something new, something sweet, and something awesome

Iceland is exploding again! While not nearly as big as last year's volcanic explosion, last week's explosion caused Bobby's flight from Aalborg to Copenhagen to be cancelled on Tuesday night. Luckily, he and his colleagues were able to catch a train to Copenhagen, so Bobby returned home a bit late but safe and sound. He also returned home with some exciting news: he won a HUGE grant from the Danish Council for Independent Research!! Starting in January, he is fully funded for two years to focus on research and only research, which includes a lot of research and a lot of traveling to perform research. We are both excited about the upcoming changes, and I am especially proud of Bobby and all the hard work he has done. Congratulations, Bobby!

The weather gods, who have been smiling upon Copenhagen as of late, have finally turned their backs on us. We've had windy and damp weather, with a lot of loud thunder storms and tropical rain storms. The crappy weather has forced us back inside, but I've made the most of it with (you guessed it) baking. My friend and co-worker Kamilla came over on Friday to help me get over my fear of making macarons. Together we conquered the beast and made two different kinds of macarons: chocolate macarons with a violette buttercream, and vanilla macarons with a rose buttercream.

I cannot believe how well the macarons came out! I was sure this delicious dessert would take multiple attempts, many tears, and a lot more baking experience, but I was wrong! So don't be afraid, make macarons!

Saturday morning stayed dry long enough for us to check out a local flea market. I totally scored with these Sorel winter boots: they only cost 50 kr. (about $10), are my size, and are in great condition! Yipee for used things!

And I have taken up a new hobby. Our good friend Robin recently moved and decided to part ways with his banjo. I jumped at the chance to take it off his hands, and three months after shipment from Japan, and a brief entanglement with the Danish import authorities, the banjo has finally reached its new home! As you can see from the photo, I don't have a clue as to what I'm doing, but with a little help from YouTube, I'm plucking my way to twangy happiness. Bobby and I will start a Danish honky-tonk band. I'm sure we'll be loved by all. The banjo and accordion are two of most loved instruments, right? Bobby also stubbed his pinkie toe on the banjo, making a bloody mess of a sock. That has inspired us to write our first song: Bobby stubbed his toe on a banjo.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tune of the Month: May

Here is my arrangement of "The Ash Grove", accompanying a blurred movie of our ride through Dyrehaven the other day.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Store Bededag

Friday was Store Bededag in Denmark. Literally translated to 'Big Prayer Day' and celebrated on the 4th Friday after Easter, the holiday was created in 1686 by King Christian V. There used to be many Roman Catholic holidays in May and the king decided to consolidate them into one big holiday, hence the Big Prayer Day. Instead of praying, Bobby and I spent Friday riding our newest tandem bike! Yes, you heard me right, we have yet another tandem. Our newest addition, named The Incredible German Hulk, has 21 gears and rides like a dream. The previous owners bought him (yes, the bike is a he) in Berlin and rode him all the way back to Copenhagen! You can see The Incredible German Hulk pictured with Bobby, along with a pretty old traditional house.

We set out to ride to Humlebæk, home of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 28 km from home. As we meandered north, we happened upon the above old home, which was next to a gate leading to a park. You can see the beautiful stretch of green in front of Bobby. We were surprised to find such a large park and decided to explore.

As we biked along, we noticed hundreds of deer in the fields. We couldn't believe how many there were!
Some of them had pretty big racks.

We continued along the path and were yet again surprised by a large old palace in the distance.

Unbeknownst to us, we had happened upon the Eremitage Palace and the surrounding Dyrehaven. The Eremitage Palace was built in 1734 for King Christian VI as a hunting palace. The surrounding grounds were used for hunting by the royal family, and the palace hosted the hunting parties and royal banquets.

As seen from the back of the Eremitage Place, the grounds stretch all the way to the ocean. We parked our bike and had a picnic of vegetables, hummus, and bruschetta and enjoyed the view and warm sun.

We also got to see many horse-drawn carriages. We even had to bike around a few as we made our way out of the Dyrehaven!

As we made our way home, we happened upon yet another surprise: Bakken! The self-proclaimed oldest amusement park in the world (founded in 1583), Bakken is located in Dyrehaven. Unlike Tivoli, you can freely enter Bakken and wander around (you have to pay just to go inside Tivoli, yet the entrance fee does not include the rides). We were surprised at how large Bakken is; there are many roller coasters and ride, carnival games, and a lot of restaurants.

Bobby and I may not have prayed much on the Big Prayer Day, but we definitely came across many surprises on The Incredible German Hulk's maiden voyage. We look forward to discovering more hidden treasures in Denmark on our trusty tandem bike!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tillykke Carla!

Last weekend I gave Carla and a handful of our friends a birthday BBQ to celebrate her big 27. Carla is now in her 28th year! For this occasion, I fired up the grill in our courtyard to make American style juicy cheeseburgers; and Carla pulled out all the stops to make the rest of the meal, including her excellent black bean dip, hummus, coleslaw, and tasty oven roasted potatoes. She also made the cake of which she has been dreaming for almost 4 years: two layer lavender cake with coconut merenge frosting and violet sprinkles.

Though during the week it appeared Saturday would be fouled by weather, the day was gorgeous. Everyone caught a bit of sun and enjoyed the food and company for nearly six hours in our common courtyard. I serenaded everyone with the accordion, and after about 10 minutes one of the children asked his mom, "Do we have to listen to this music any more?" My next two songs I dedicated to him.

Popular with our guests was the opportunity to test ride Thunder and Blazes around our driveway. Most people approach the tandem with apprehension, but once they try it their fright dissolves.

At work on her actual birthday, Carla's mates decked out her office with several Danish flags. This is an appropriate way to signify and celebrate birthdays. A co-worked asked Carla if it was weird not being surrounded by US flags on her birthday!

Carla made a special two cake treat to take to the office and offer everyone. And it is a good thing she brought two because 17 people showed up. Carla has developed a name for herself around our workplace as a magic chef. Email travels fast; but people race faster to the kitchen when they find out Carla is offering a dessert she has made.

The Spring time is now making way for summer. We have seen within weeks barren trees bud with life and audibly blossom with color. Below you see Carla riding her bike underneath a giant roadside bouquet.

Happy Birthday once again Carlita!