Wednesday, March 28, 2007

home plates

This is my favorite thing in the local paper, The San Jose Mercury News. It's a weekly column on home cooking. People asking others for help finding recipes they have lost, and me catching up on American cooking knowledge.

It's not fancy food (the rest of the paper's weekly food section is smack full of that). It's the kind of food people made in the 1950's and 1960's, with lots of shortcuts using canned soup, and "cake-baking" in the refrigerator (=layers of crackers and chocolate, I think there is a Swedish version of that too).

I am just saying

My former students have cool jobs.
(You know who you are.)

And anyone who thinks a comm major is useless is so wrong.

Monday, March 26, 2007

11 years, 7 months, 14 days...

... and I bought a scented candle.

how to spot a scandinavian (I and II): they have tans, and they eat fish

Last weekend in Half Moon Bay. I got homesick for Denmark because it smelled of fried fish. Not that Denmark is the only place where you can get fried fish, but they seem to market it awfully well. And it's tasty too.

It was awfully cold there on the beach. And windy. In that regard it was pretty much like Denmark too.

In other news: I will soon be making history in the cured salmon department. I only need to get the actual salmon, and a kitchen scales so I can measure everything properly and not be a health hazard. Cured salmon is the best food ever so there will be many happy times around here.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Friday, March 23, 2007

tulips against racism

I sat through a meeting yesterday. I am not good at meetings and I do not like them. But it was an important meeting and I haven't been able to attend the previous ones in the series so I went.

It made me frustrated. I probably spoke too much in front of people I do not know. This makes me more frustrated.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

mångkulturell mat

If you read Swedish you need to read this. It's a blog about food, with recipes, written by immigrant kids. And it's just great.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I got an email from one of my favorite former students today

It said:

"Just wanted to pass this on. It is a company I just found out about. They help veterans who have substance abuse problems and/or who are down on their luck. I just think this is so important and it makes me so sad to see men and women who our government sent to war and then who come home and live on Skid Row. If you feel motivated check out this website. You dont have to give money you could just send a box full of underwear and socks or art supplies or simple things like deodorant, tooth paste, blankets...things we don't think about."

Link: New Directions

power of nature

These small flowers were planted on one side of the property, and then, all by themselves, they appeared way over on the other side. Twenty yards away, at least. On the other side of a big house.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

dan had a chicken quesadilla that bathed in sour creme. you have to wonder why they made them like that. it wasn't great.

I had a fish taco today. I had been dreaming of it for pretty much a full day. It was good. I think I'll be making a lot of things into tacos the coming days.

san jose, it's here

I really like Burt Bacharach. To me he is Mr. California. Smooth cashmere turtleneck, smooth piano music, a cool breeze. No worries whatsoever.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Monday, March 12, 2007


The overwhelming majority of Swedes are Lutherans, but many don't pay much attention to that fact. We are secularized cultural Protestants, like many Latin Americans are cultural Catholics.

The very first time I met the first class I taught at the Jesuit school where I work, someone sneezed. The way I remember it is this: Someone sneezed. And then there was silence. Then all heads turned in the direction of the sneezer, and all students said a polite "Bless You!" in unison. The sneezer said "thank you". Thereafter, class continued.

Now, seven years later, I take the sneezes and the 'Bless Yous' in stride. In fact, I say bless you too. I kind of like it. It's only when I say it to a priest that I hear a "wait a minute!" from the suddenly awakened Lutheran inside me.


I am not joking hay fever season is here. But this year - so far - has been good. The constant (twice a day) rinsing of the nose with the salt water actually really helps. And it should help, right? If you can get the pollen out of there, that should be better than keeping a stash in your sinuses. Marinating.

I asked someone for advice about insects eating my plants once. 'Have you tried rinsing with water?', she asked. That was a good practical tip. Same thing. It worked. Environment happy, small bugs off my plants.

I should have just gone with 'thank you'

My teacher/colleague gave me a compliment in class today and I turned red in the face.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

britt edwall, anyone?

I just figured out how to get Swedish public service bla-bla radio onto my ipod. Big fat leap for me.


Fia wants to know six strange things about me. This is very tricky because I don't think there are any strange things about me at all. But I'll give it a try.

1. I never put keys on a table (=bad luck, but everybody knows that so that's not very strange). When I teach I purposely drop my keys on the floor. Every kid who has ever been in class with me knows this but only the brave ones ask me about it. (American students are polite.) (Or, should I say, American students at (believe it or not that's how much it costs) $40 000 a year schools are polite.) One kid did a drawing of me in class (took him most of summer school one year) and when he gave it to me he proudly pointed out that he had included the keys on the floor. (I framed it and right now it hangs in the bathroom.)
2. I think Ejderns drottkaviar and banana taste really good together. (If you don't get that, don't worry. You don't want to know.) (It's really good, though.)

3. My childhood friend and I had a make-believe game where we pretended to be attorneys. We set up her teddy bears and dolls with... I don't know what. Paperwork? We were six.

I started at 8:55. Now it's 9:50. I am taking a break. I need to sleep on this, apparently.

'alice, off the page' by calvin trillan

Last night I was watching The Real Housewives of Orange County but Dan said something (actually, what he said was "I am surprised you are watching that") and I realized I was wasting my time so I started reading for class and then I got an email from Babs with a link for this article so I started reading that. It's long, but very good. Inspiring on many levels.

Monday, March 05, 2007

and it's anniversary week for the marches from selma to montgomery too

Amazing Grace, the movie, is good. It tells the story of abolition of slavery in Great Britain, and it tells the story of one man's passion and fury in fighting for change. It's uplifting for that reason. It's not so uplifting to remember that laws don't create equality. It's up to people to create equality, and we are still not doing so great in that department.
Those marches during the civil rights movement, those were in early March of 1965.

Friday, March 02, 2007

every decoding is another encoding

So, editors at the campus paper had taken it upon themselves to cut my opinion piece from 550 to 450 words. And it's interesting actually, because the two white student editors had cut several of the tiny hooks I had put in the piece specifically for people of color.

A paragraph on the word 'exotic' was shortened, the word 'normal was gone, a sentence about African-Americans was gone, and the expression 'my people' was gone. Their version reads as if I can't take ANY jokes about Swedes, and they had changed the ending so it sounds as if I think an understanding of oppression follows naturally from an emotional response to injustice.

That last thing really pisses me off because the important point is that those two are different things. Everybody can feel sorry for somebody, but to understand oppression you need to be able to see the structure. That takes intellectual effort.

The interesting thing is to see how people cut things that have no meaning to THEM, without letting it cross their minds that it may carry meaning for someone else. So in a way they just proved my point.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

actions against hunger

I went to Whole Foods tonight to get coffee, pink grape fruit from Texas, and mango sorbet. The store was empty, except for the area around the prepared foods counter, where slightly over weight well clad high tech workers bought expensive food for their micro wave dinners. Solid wall of gray wool, except for a t-shirted back that said