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Showing posts from December, 2015

Finnish history

Tonight I went to a rather extensive talk (79 slides!) about Finnish history.  The speaker, a graduate student working on his dissertation, emphasized that there are many dark parts of Finnish history that never get talked about. Sad times when terrible things happened, like the civil war and the red and white terrors. But through it all there was enough of a sense of democracy and law that things moved forward, rather than turning even darker.

It's all so hard, because it seems untrue to ignore the past, to push things under the rug, but on the other hand, talking it out can reopen wounds and trauma all over again. A nation has to be able to move forward.

This morning I bought my ticket to Iceland, and my niece passed her driver's test, and my sister made it down to my parents house safely.

it is raining in California

A long steady rain, the kind of soaking that will surely cause flooding and might actually make a dent in the drought. The kind of rain this disaster zone of a state needs. No fake snow in the mountains, just the real stuff please. 
I'm taking my son down to see my parents tomorrow but am feeling humble about it. Tonight I asked him if he wanted a tuna sandwich for a snack, and he told me he hates tuna. That's the sort of thing a mother really ought to know. 
I made oatmeal for breakfast though, that was good, made it with milk and butter instead of water so it was rich and creamy. 
Anyhow, if there is anything the last days, weeks, months, years and decades have taught me, it is that Star Wars, Star Trek, and Superman are constantly being revamped. And I would like something steadfast, even though I haven't done anything to deserve it.

Nordic Fest Dinner

I am now in the midst of finalizing details for the last of my four major Christmas themed events in as many weeks, and all of it work related.

This time it is a formal sit down dinner, a sort of office party I guess only it isn't a crazy dance all night-do-things-you-might-regret later kind of party. Rather it is a tradition for a lot of people, who bring a group of friends with them and thereby save themselves from having to throw a party at their house. Attending the Nordic Fest dinner has become a part of their holiday plan.

In years past, it has always been a huge buffet, but this year, the majority of members who voiced an opinion asked to have a plated meal served to the table. There clearly are some people who wanted change. On the other hand, I have been getting plenty of phone calls from people who are confused and don't understand why we have changed things. They liked things just the way they were. 

So the common phrase is that opposites attract, but I really don&…

Sankta Lucia

Today is Sankta Lucia Day, an event I had never heard of before I came to Pacific Lutheran University. It is not clevrated in Iceland, but I understand it is celebrated in some places in Norway, and very widely embraced in Sweden. 
It is about a person, an Itslian girl named Lucia according to the legend, who stands up for her beliefs to the point of martyrdom. 
We use it as a way to encourage young people, especially women, to think about the I,pittance of having conviction, moral fortitude, and the bravery to let their light shine, to stand up for those that cannot stand up for themselves. 
Although the it is a lot of work and has been going on non stop now since Thursday, and continues today, I am pleased to be a part of this, of encouraging people to stand up for right and wrong. Although we sometimes critics people for being too self righteousness or judgement, we also have to demonstrate a commitment to justice. 
Happy Sankta Lucia Day.

It isn't brain surgery

It is raining hard here in Seattle again this morning, as one would expect. And I am waiting on news of my mom's MRI, she is back in the hospital again as of yesterday. When this first happened, I should have reached out to my mother's family in Iceland, her sister and brother and my cousins, instead of just blogging about it. But instead I guess I was just in too much shock. Now that it has had some time to settle in, I am being better about letting those know that need to know what is going on and what they can do to help. My brother thinks there is a possibility my mom might need surgery. That has got me thinking about the term "it isn't brain surgery", which is used when there is something so obvious, anyone should be able to do it, even without special training. Like figuring out that it rains a lot in Seattle. Or figuring out that I am upset.

Here is hoping for a wonderfully talented, careful and caring, brain surgeon to come in and make it all better. Make…

Another "poem"

Everyone in Iceland is talking about a performance "artist" who has placed himself, naked, in a plastic box and is living his life on public display for two weeks or something. Everyone can watch him on a live cam as he eats and sleeps and poops and pees and explores other bodily functions. The debate rages about whether or not this counts as art.

My response to this extreme interpretation of artistic license is not particularly strong. I find it uninteresting and lacking in imagination, since it is extremely literal, stripping man down to his animalistic base. We have left that animal base so long ago, I am not sure I see the relevance of reemphasizing it now. Art ought to have an element of social critique to it, and I am not sure I see the social critique in this particular performance, unless it is anti-technology? Then why broadcast it on a webcam? Is it just irony?

Anyhow, if the definition of art can be stretched to include that, than the definition of poetry can defi…

Someone to talk to

It is strange, everyone I know, including a lot of people in Iceland and people from work, as well as family and friends, I am facebook friends with all of them, 400 and some-odd people, almost all of whom I have met and know personally.  But I don't want to put today's news on facebook, because I don't want all the empty platitudes and expressions of concern. So instead I will put it here in my blog, no one I know reads my blog. The statistics show 20-30 people see the posts, but as far as I know, except the occasional pop-in by my dad, none of my friends or family read my blog. It is only strangers, nice strangers maybe, strangers looking for information about Iceland or something interesting about the United States, and instead get my increasingly myopic and uninteresting observations, complaints, and diary-esque entries.

Still here seems to be a good anonymous place to say that around noon today I got a call from my dad, he was at the hospital with my mom. They were r…

Turkey leftovers

I suppose I could accept the idea that there might be some Icelander out there who is jealous that they did not get the opportunity to take Thursday off work and spend the entire day cooking a set of weird recipes based on a fabricated encounter between Native Americans and pilgrims, foods that never make anyone's normal meal time experience. But I can assure any such delusional Icelander that while the idea might sound good, and a few bites here and there are worth savoring, in general the food is heavy, greasy, gamey, and gives one an upset stomach. No one could, or would ever want to, eat like that everyday. Unfortunately, for those of us living in America, we are forced to try to eat a Thanksgiving meal not only on Thanksgiving day, but also for days and days afterwards, because of all the containers full of mashed potatoes, stuffing, cold chunks of turkey, and gloppy bits of gravy. In the last 5 days, I have only had one meal that has not involved some form of left overs from…