Saturday, December 21, 2013

Initial Thoughts Upon Being Back in The United States

The language. 
I feel like I'm eavesdropping on everyone because I CAN ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT PEOPLE AROUND ME ARE SAYING. I keep reminding myself that though I can comprehend, these are not my conversations and no one needs me to add anything. But it's hard, you know. 

The radio! Driving! 
These are things I have missed. I find myself taking the long way around so I can get in more music time. There is a song by Rihanna and Eminem--something about a monster--that is on every other station, every other song I swear it. There is also some Lady Gaga and (dirty raper--not missing a P) R. Kelly song that I change in protest each time I hear it. I may be checking in on the Top 40 crap, but I'm doing it with a conscience. Also, some radio station's touting itself as giving the "most free money." Is that what listening to the radio's about these days?

Speaking of driving.
People are rampantly TEXTING while doing it. And this is not illegal! I'm sure it just gets worse when everyone's driving around from Christmas party to cocktail spot to other cocktail spot (read: drinking and driving, yo it happens big time here) and texting to keep in touch while on the road. Drunk driving and texting is pretty much about the scariest thing I can think of. Ugh. Shame on youse.

Which reminds me.
The St. Louis accent exists. I have tried to put my finger on what it entails exactly, though it screams to me when I hear it. In discussing with others, however, we determined it's nasal vowels ("hockey" is something more like "hah-kee" with the "hah" straight up your nose), hard D's and T's when they start words, and dropped Gs when they're at the end of a word (goin', runnin'). It all combines in a way that someone described as goose-like. Yep, it's true. St. Louisans sound like geese. Gives new meaning to the term "honkies." Oh, and this number: 44? Lots of locals say "farty far." No joke!

I am tricking out my words and phrases in a most creative and confused way--because I am here with the natives! I had to remind myself to just "say it right" the other day. Because it's probably pretty annoying to be around me and my dancing mouth.

The televisions. 
Why is there a TV bloody everywhere?? We had lunch at a Vietnamese spot today and I found myself lost in the electronic visions above the bar. Boo. Put that shit away. TVs just de-class everything. Someone told me there are even TVs above urinals in some places. I have not seen this myself nor will I be checking. But seriously, you can't whiz without missing a minute of the game?!

Sunday, December 8, 2013


You know, in the past months...

Baby Daisy wonders why my "drool bib" is so dry.

I call this one the "collar prowler."

A snack on the shoulder.

Grandma's vintage locket.

Ol' creepy clown is still creepy as ever.

Mushroom Hunting

We're truly getting into the Swedish swing of things and, come fall, that means mushroom hunting.  We were lucky enough to be invited by the lovely Daniel and Judyta to Tyresta National Park to get our mushroom on.

First, about the park.  It's only about 20 minutes outside of Stockholm, but it feels like you're in the middle of nowhere once you start a-wanderin'.  There was a terrible fire in the park some years ago (it basically sounds like a dumb tourist version of Mrs. O'Leary's cow) so there's a great expanse that's burned out and surreal.  Daniel and JD referred to it as the "dinosaur forest."  It was stunning.

After arriving at Tyresta, our hosts showed us what to look for, handed us baskets, and off we went!  We stuck to chanterelles, so we focused our eyes on spotting those and weeding out the impostors (not poisonous--don't worry).  Mushroom hunting is quite a zen activity.  You wander, getting lost in every little thing on the forest floor.  Sometimes it feels like you're looking at one of those "magic" 3D posters that were so infuriating popular in the '90s.  Things aren't always what they seem--until they are and you've stumbled on a "mushroom village" as we got to call them.  It's like your eyes change focus and suddenly all of these mushrooms pop out where there were none.  The little fellows seem to be quite social, huddling in patches for the most part.  Of course, there were also many loners that did not go unpicked.

We each went our own direction, sometimes staying relatively near to each other--other times, losing ourselves entirely until someone whistled or shouted for a response.  Again, zen.  We rested first for a fika with banana bread and coffee.  Then later to eat our prize meal--hokkaido pumpkin soup supplemented with the day's mushroom catch.  Noms.

And the best part?  Our gracious hosts shared their bounty with us at the end of the day.  So even these nubes went home with full baskets.

No leaning tree shall be unturned, declares B!

The season's must-have accessory: a mushroom basket.

I knew well enough not to pick the gooey bark sludge.  (Though I have eaten similar stuff in China and it's damn good.)

Our crew crossing the bridge in the birch forest.

<3 birch.="" p="">

Our chef, sautéing the mushrooms to be added to the pumpkin soup.

Delicious, delicious pumpkin soup with fresh chanterelles.

The scene from where we stopped to eat in the "dinosaur forest."

The next day, we cleaned all of the mushrooms (with a soft brush) and I got to cooking!

Baked eggs with goat's cheese and chanterelles.  Oh, and bacon on the side.

And for dinner, it was galettes with sautéed mushrooms and garlic.  Yummy!