Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Proof of Life

Please forgive me.  I feel like a bit of a failure as I have gone almost two weeks without any updates.  To be fair, I have started a couple of posts, but I find them uninspiring at present.  They may be edited and released at a later date, but for now, I can only tell you that I haven't completely forgotten about this blog and will try to do a bit better in the future.

So what have I been up to in these past weeks?  The truth is lots of things and none have been that exciting.  Let's start with my non-traditional Christmas.  As my brother was stuck on-call in Madison this year, the executive decision was made that we would not stay around the house for a replay of the three-person Thanksgiving that we had this year.

We considered different ideas of places to go, and while I was secretly hoping for Hawaii, we opted for the snowy tranquility of northern Wisconsin.  Why?  Well, it just so happens that my aunt and uncle own a lovely little chalet/cabin up in the woods near the tiny town of Seely.  It comfortably sleeps a lot of people and is well heated and equipped for winter habitation.  When my aunt and uncle are in the country, they understandably spend a lot of time there.

However, this year (and next year as well) my aunt and uncle are living the European Dream in Waterloo, Belgium where my aunt is teaching for two years.  Sadly, they had to spend their Christmas break skiing in Bavaria near that big fairy tale castle... Neuschwanstein.  Rough.

Anyway, as their cabin is vacant, we decided to use it for our own cozy woodland critter Christmas.  Unfortunately, this cabin is not on a body of water.  This makes it slightly less appealing in the warmer months, but in the winter it really doesn't matter.  It is, however, situated along some very nice trails that are used for both skiing and snowshoeing.

I believe I mentioned the possibility of Nordic sports in my last entry and the distinct probability that I would not be successful in said sports.  Well, I'm here to say that it remains a tempestuous relationship between me and skiis.  Ignoring my request to just use snowshoes, my father went ahead and rented a set of cross-country skis for me.  Not wanting to disappoint, I agreed to make an attempt to use them.  In my first outing, it really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  I stayed on relatively level ground and did not fall.

After my first successful attempt, I went out in snowshoes and definitely felt validated that this method of conveyance is much more to my liking and skills.  After these expeditions, we came back to the house for our Christmas dinner.  It was a simple meal of Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, lefse and rommegrot.  If you're from Minnesota, you probably have heard of the first three items.  You may not have heard of the fourth.  Allow me to explain.

Rommegrot is a Norwegian porridge that is made of milk, cream, butter, flour and sugar.  There are variations of this, but any good Norwegian farmwife worth her salt has a recipe for it.  I know my great-grandmother was an expert.  Or so I've been told.  Nowadays, no one in my family makes it from scratch; my mother buys it from Ingebretsen's in Minneapolis.

Now that I've explained the composition on the dish, I should also tell you that I have a tendency to be a bit lactose intolerant, especially if I'm doing a lot of physical activity.

After we ate, we rested a bit and then decided to get in another ski run before dark.  Big mistake.  I wasn't even 5 minutes on the trail and I knew that I was going to have a problem.  Luckily, we were still by the house at this point, but I decided to go down one hill and then wait for my parents before going in.  I sure wish I had stuck to that plan.

As I waited for my parents, I noticed that the ski trail crossed the driveway.  In order to save time, I moved out into the driveway.  As an inexperienced skiier, I did not realize that ungroomed areas can be highly unpredictable.   Can you guess what happened next?

Instead of gracefully moving across the driveway and into the trail, I completely lost control of my skis and only managed to stop myself by running off the trail into some small trees, completely twisting my skis beneath me and planting my backside into a deep pile of snow.  Oh, and I got a boo-boo on my finger that hurt really bad.

As if this was not traumatic enough, no one actually witnessed it.  My parents found me half submerged in a snow bank, attempting to release my boot bindings so that I could untangle my legs and stand up.

When they finally showed up, they quickly assisted me out of my skis.  Unfortunately by now, the tempest brewing in my GI tract had reached Category 5.  It was all I could do to gather my ski equipment and high-tail it back to the cabin as fast as possible.  After successfully averting disaster I decided to take a break from skis.  Forever.

The rest of the weekend was lovely, but I won't bore you with details.  We did learn a very important non-ski related lesson.  Our dogs are nervous car riders and should probably be sedated for long car rides in the future.  They may be coming to Madison with us later this month, so I'll let you know if it works.

After Christmas, the week of work was pretty slow.  It's a common vacation week as it coincides with most school breaks.  As a non-parent, I simply find that it is FAR easier to make the commute to work with all of the vacationers off the road.

New Year's Eve was pretty tame by past standards.  I will explain the reason at a later time - I promise.  Let's say on January 10th (or sometime thereafter).  Don't worry, it's a GOOD reason!

New Year's Day was nice - my relatives from the farm came in and my brother made the ultimate sacrifice and left his college buddies and their party to be with his family to celebrate a late Christmas.  I received the St. Donatus Church cookbook, for which I am very grateful.  Now if my grandpa would just get me the Big Grove cookbook...

So that brings us up to date, right?  I do have a bit of an adventure planned this weekend, and perhaps I will be able to give you some updates on it as it goes down.  Let's just say that I am going to be "dog-tired" by Tuesday! 

I hope you will all forgive me for such a long break from entries.  I shall endeavor to improve now that the holiday madness is over for another year.  I shall also endeavor to be a bit more humorous in future entries.  Until then, have fun and Google "rommegrot" if you get a chance. 

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