Thursday, October 29, 2009

Goodnight Moon

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Solborg - what a school

Zelia and Jacob and I LOVE her school, besides being loving, creative, exploratory and simple they spend 3 hours a day outside during the 8 hour day. Zelia is only there for 5 hours so isn't out for that long but still....The other day I got there to pick her up and she was outside and I could smell a fire burning. I went out and all the children and teachers were together sitting in a circle on logs, there was a fire, a tri-pod and a big pot of juice hanging over the fire - perfect. I really wish I had had a camera with me it was such a wonderful event. It was cold and sunny and perfect. At first Zelia wasn't interested in drinking the juice but when I told her it was tea she sucked it down. We will miss this irreplaceable place.

out and about

This weekend began by making Hallah with Etienne and then hosting a great pot-luck Shabbat dinner. Everyone here was laughing how they will continue celebrating Shabbat even once we are not here. That was nice:) Zelia loves it and sings part of "hayom yom shishi" she says Shabbat, kipa, yain and einu (short for what she hears when we say the blessings - eloheinu)whenever she sees a candle.

Yesterday we went to a slatur making party at Gisli's parents' house. Every year at this time 4 families get together, buy several kits and get preparing. Slatur is an Icelandic sausage either made with liver or blood, yesterday they were making both, I probably don't have to tell you that Zelia LOVES it. On Friday they began by sewing the stomachs and on Saturday by the time we arrived there were 4 people sitting at the table cutting up fat and two people around a large tub, one woman with her arm up to her elbow in the mixture of liver, milk, oats, rye flour, salt and ground cloves. When the mixture as ready - the wooden spoon would stand in it the stuffing began. Jacob had a go and stuffed a few, then the stomachs were secured closed with a long nail! In total they made over 100 sausages, most to be frozen for the year and a few left for a big meal that night. We headed back over to the same house at 6:30 for dinner. In the dining room there was a large electric "pot" where the slatur had been oiling for 3 hours. the tale was set and out came boiled potatoes, white sauce and both mashed and cut up rutabaga. I could not get over the blood sausage and didn't try it but I did take several bites of Zelia's liver sausage. Now, I HATE liver, but this didn't taste like liver and if I liked lam I would have devoured it. It was super tender, very flavorful and I could really understand why it is loved...oh that lamb flavor, if only I liked it!

Zelia ate and then was off following the different children around and playing. We finished with a delicious cake called something Dream and headed home.

This morning, Zelia and I slept in until almost 9 and had a nice slow wake-up. We all had breakfast together and Zelia had so much fun playing with her legos. then we went out for a walk and to the park before heading back for her nap.

This afternoon was quiet, Jacob went to work and we had a nice afternoon. We had dinner with Jamie and then Tray came over and we all watched Food Inc together. It is safe to say we are all pretty upset...not that it was all new information but just astounding how tremendously sick our food system is, it made me very sad and very angry. ahhhh, when we return we will continue to eat mindfully making more and more changes to our diet and food purchasing. If you haven't seen it, I cannot recommend it enough.

Sunday morning is perfect for legos

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dancing on Shabbat

Zelia in and out of the Cubbard

Tunnel to Bolungarvik

Last Sunday evening we drove with Tray and Debbie to meet David (geologist from Switzerland) to see the progress on the tunnel through the mountain so that people will not have to drive on the most dangerous road in Iceland. the work has been hard and they were taken by surprise when they upon a large section of sedimentary rock. this stuff is amazing. Back at David's for dinner he put a piece in a glass of water and it just dissolved! They have to enforce the end of the tunnel with cement shot (they spray this stuff and it has steel fibers in it) then drill with this huge machine called a Jambo, and then explosives are put in and bam! The explosives are also pretty amazing, made of two non-explosive ingredients so the transport is super safe.

After the tour, with hard hats and ear plugs we went back to David's for dinner with Franzie, Bertrand, Joelle and Luke. These are pictures from Franzie - they are both from the clamming and then from the dinner.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Terri´s visit

Terri came to visit us for the fourth time since we came here and she was really hit with the weather for the first time, so not too bad odds. She landed in Reykjavik on Friday morning and we were planning on flying from Ísafjörður. However, we woke to very strong winds and the flight was delayed (it finally left Saturday evening). Before too long we rented a car, called Petra (a student from Aland, Finalnd who was also trying to get to Reykjavik) and got on the road. It was a tough decision, but we finally decided that if we got going right away (we should have left 2 hours earlier) we would be ok. The main concern was the mountain pass before coming into the town of Hólmavík. Driving in and out of the fjords was fair, one side was okay and the other always snowy and icy. As we headed up the pass, there was more snow and the sign said the wind was blowing pretty hard. We climbed up and up and lost all visibility - it was like driving in/on a piece of paper, everything was white, the road, the air, everything - remember no trees even to provide contrast. The road is lined with yellow sticks as markers that were about 10 feet apart and we could see one at a time. Jacob was gripping the wheel so hard his hands cramped and were shaking once we got through it. Apparently he kept envisioning how we would hike noff the mountain with Zelia if we got stuck! Hólmavík was a welcome site.

We stopped at a grill for some lunch and to relax and while we were there we were trying to get information about the new road and mountain pass. A group of three people walked in for food as well and it turned out they were going the same way as we were so we caravaned over the next pass, which was bad, but not AS bad. The wind, however, was getting stronger and stronger. In the meantime, Terri had been at the bus terminal since 8:30 am waiting for a bus to take her to Snæfelness where we would all meet at the hotel. No buses were going due to the gale force winds. We eventually made it to the hotel, and Terri booked a place in Reykjavik.

Hotel Buðir was beautiful, All alone on the sea and a river mouth, it was stunningly decorated with all these nooks and crannies, cozy places to sit. Their bar was stocked with many many whiskeys and cognacs and the rooms simple and sweet. The walls had several pictures and prints and the prints caught Jacob´s eyes immediately. They were beautifully made prints of the fish species in Iceland, many of which he is writing his thesis about. That night was had the first of 2 delicious 3-course dinners. The started was a blood sausage and beets with a port wine sauce and potato foam (even I liked it and Zelia LOVED it). Then we had a piece of monk fish and a piece of halibut with olive paint. Zelia was ready to sleep after that so we took her to bed and then returned for dessert, piece of flourless chocolate cake, homemade spice ice cream and a banana custard/flan/mouse thing, I cannot explain it but it was unbelievable! This chef is so good at combining flavors and textures, it was so fun to eat his food. The wind howled at night and we wondered if Terri would make it on the bus in the morning....

After breakfast and some playing (inside, the wind would have blown Zelia away) we headed out to meet Terri at the bus stop. She made it and we returned to the hotel for some lunch and a nap. In the afternoon we sat in this beautiful room, with comfortable chairs and LARGE windows facing the sea and river. That night for dinner we began with monk fish with a parsnip cream and mashed rutabaga (AMAZING!!!!). I took Zelia to bed and then returned to taste the wild goose with berry sauce. YES, I had it too...lamb was the other possibility so I figured why not? It was quite good, not at all fatty since it was wild and not tender, but not tough. Dessert was more of that banana concoction, with some fine spice crumbs and blueberry ice cream that was fantastic. ahhhhhhh

On Sunday we checked out, but not before finding out more about the prints on the wall. Turns out they came from a book that was reprinted in 1976 (100 years birthday of the author and naturalist), only 1500 copied were made. We took the information and thought we would see if we could find the book. We drove to Hellisandur a small settlement on the sea and then to Borgannes on the way to Reykjavik. In Borganess we stopped for lunch at a sweet little Viking Cafe. We had delicious soup and bread and walked around a little gift shop. Back in the car we headed to Reykjavik.

Our first stop in Reykjavik was to the flee market - Jacob loves it there and we thought maybe we would find a cheap umbrella stroller there. We walked in and to a book seller and you would not believe it...but there as the book, in beautiful condition, unbelievable!!!! After walking around a bit more Terri got it for Jacob for his master´s! What crazy luck.

We checked in to the guest house...hotel Budir it was not:) and headed for dinner. We went to a Tapas restaurant that ended up being spectacular, what a find. Next time we are in Reykjavik we are going there for sure! Of course Zelia was in heaven, lobster, arctic char, tenderloin, olive tapanad, she has good taste:) Back at the hotel we put Zelia to bed and Jacob and I headed out to a free boat to Viðey Island where Yoko Ono helped create a peace light, It was a joint project between her, the Reykjavik Art museum and Reykjavik Energy. It is lit on Oct. 9, Lennon´s birthday and is turned off Dec 8, the day he was assassinated. It is lit again for the winter solstice and New Year´s and the the spring Equinox. It is a very quick boat ride over and then as we departed we each got a small flashlight and headed down to the light tower, which is inscribed with imagine peace in several different languages, we found the Hebrew right away! The whole group held hands around the light and sent our prayers and energy out into the light into the world. It reminded me of a great Jewish image when all our prayers are sent into the heavens making a crown for G-d.

We returned to a screaming child who then had quite a hard time getting back to sleep, poor girl, she kept crying for a new diaper (3 new diapers, she finally went to sleep). On Monday, Jacob headed out to the hospital for some shots and then to meet his advisor. Terri, Zelia and I hung out in a cafe, walked around Laugavegur and had some lunch.

By Monday late afternoon we were ready to get home. We boarded the plane uneventfully and got home. Of course I had to run out to teach pilates but then returned to relax and sleep.

Zelia went to school on Tuesday and Terri spent some time with her there, after that she got sick and ended up staying at home with Terri for two days with a fever. Just a cold it turns out. As Terri was scheduled to leave the wind picked up and she spent another two days with us and finally headed to Reykjavik in a car with Gunna Sigga (who was heading there) so that she could fly out on Saturday.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday morning

We have been hanging at home this morning, relaxing,playing with play dough, finger paints, kitchen bowls, knitting and searching for jobs...I know that I have much to write about last weekend and Terri's visit, but this will have to do for now. O, this is the sweater I made for Zelia:)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Dancing fool!

Zelia loves her dance parties with Jamie and even dancer her way home from Leikskoli yesterday.

It is Friday morning and our flight to Reykjavik is on hold, the weather is bad, very windy. we thought to just rent a car and drive but Gisli is warning us about the mountain roads - -1 and 18 m/second winds, so we are waiting...

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Last Sunday, once Zelia woke from her nap we headed in caravan style to Dyrafjordur for some clams and mussels (blue shells as they are called here). The drive was beautiful, the mountains covered in fresh snow and the sky blue.

We all arrived at the bottom of the fjord - Gisli, Gerdur, Jacob, David, Debz, Bertram, Francie and their two children Joelle and Luke. I think Luke is about 3 months old and probably wins the record for youngest clammer ever!

It was cold and lovely and you could pick the blue shells like berries, just the top of the shells sticking out of the wet sand and sometimes clumped together with others and small rocks. The clams are harder to find, especially since they dig down quickly as you go after them.

It was a great success and we all met up at Gisli and Gerdur's for a big feast. You would not have believed the size of the pot of blue shells being cooked up and Jacob made delicious fried clams, yummm, add to that wine and a delicious blueberry pie and we were satisfied!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

forgotten videos

dancing Zelia and some from Grunnavik

Shabbat Sukkot

On Friday, Jamie came over to learn about making hallah and we prepared for a house pot-luck shabbat/Sukkot.

I have not mentioned that our house has changed dramatically with the new students' arrival. There are 3 apartments in the house and each if full now. Next door live Jamie (USA), Etienne (France) and Deb (Wales), upstairs like Arastou (Iran), Devanand (Mauritius) and Lauma (Latvia) - it is quite the international house. I am happy to report that Zelia has fallen in love with both Jamie and Debbie (as she calls her), she talks about them constantly and especially loves to dance with Jamie and play on the couch with Deb.

So, by 6:30 we were getting things together and Max arrived. We had a fish and vegetarian meal that was delicious and mostly from the dumpster, yes you read correctly. Jamie and Jacob LOVE to dumpster dive together and usually come home with loads of food. Icelandic law requires that the markets throw away all food a day before their sell by date, so a lot of very good food is wastefully thrown away. This is not so different from the US or any country I suppose with such a surplus. Anyway, much of the meal was prepared from such bounty:) The menu: cucumber and feta salad, mashed rutabaga, vegetable rice dish, cooked beets, cut up fruit, cookies and apple pie.

On Saturday, we woke to more snow and cold temperatures and after a morning inside playing (check out the video) we walked to Gerdur's store for music time. There are more young children there now as the sports morning has begun for the older kids. Then when we got back Zelia and I enjoyed an hour and a half nap, fabulous. Tray came for dinner and Jacob made delicious fish tacos - wow, spectacular with homemade tortillas....

I write about food a lot, don't I????

This morning, Sunday, is spectacular, the mountains are covered in snow there is snow down here on the roads and the sky is clear and sunny. We had a lovely skype visit with Katri, Jukka and Pyry and realize just how much we miss them. Time to plan a trip to Helsinki! After we got off the call Zelia kept looking at the computer and saying Pyry, Pyry.....

When Zelia wakes from her nap we are heading to Dyrafjordur with Gisli, David, Bertram, Francie and children and Deb to go clamming:)