These Feet Were Made for Walkin’

Yesterday was dedicated to just kind of hanging around Copenhagen and wandering the streets like a tourist. I ended up in the gay district. I knew immediately I was there because of the karaoke bar and all the rainbow flags. But if I’d had any question about it, I am sure I could have popped in either of these locations and gotten it straightened (or gayed?) out:img_2721.jpg

I kept wandering around the streets. It was a lovely day and even got up to a balmy 70 degrees. It seemed to me everyone was on the streets drinking a beer and smoking cigarettes. I eventually wandered into the super-touristy shopping area.IMG_2729 I took a picture of this bench because it says peckerhead on it. My 15 second Google search turned up a potential band name with a song called Copenhagen Bloodbank. But Dictionary.com says it’s a term for an asshole or a jerk. Apparently, it is also a term for a motor termination box (whatever that means). It wasn’t until I posted this picture here that I noticed the dude in the picture is wearing a CrossFit shirt. Unrelated, I am sure.

I was actually on a mission. I love knitting and thought it would be cool to go to a Copenhagen knitting store and fondle or possibly buy some yarn. I turned the corner headed toward where Google maps said my shop was and I saw this:

IMG_2727I imagine this is like a Segway tour. Do you think they have you walk the Great Danes or ride them on the tour? I peaked in the window and saw no dogs.

Practically next door was my knitting shop. Apparently it’s not just the dogs that are larger in Copenhagen.

IMG_2728This is one kilo of yarn. Also, look at the size on the needle they recommend, they ran out of numbers and just put a Great Dane on it. Andrew, let’s get a snow leopard kitten – I have just the yarn for it to play with. In other news, I had to buy an extra seat on my plane ride home…

After all the walking and running I have done here, my feet are in need of some TLC. I looked around for a pedicure place and there was one just a few blocks away.

When I was a little baby I use to make fish faces with my mouth and my nickname became fish face. Eventually, that was shortened to “fish” – this makes my ComedySportz nickname of Hadas “Tuna” Cassorla even a little more special to me.

IMG_2733IMG_2732Now as an adult, I have become fish food. This is something I have always wanted to try. It feels ticklish at first. Then it’s just odd. I did 40 minutes, which was 20 minutes longer than its novelty appeal. While soaking in it I did some Googling to discover why these bone fish eat people. I found no answers, just that they do. Also, apparently, this type of treatment has stopped being available in many places because of sanitary concerns, but so far my feet haven’t fallen off. And if they do, I will likely just blame it on all the walking I have done around town.

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Iceland Day 3, and the rest

You know how on Gilligan’s Island for the first season the theme song went “…with Gilligan, the Skipper too, the Millionaire and his wife, the movie star and the rest…” the rest, like the two other people, which is SO MUCH MORE than the five we’ve already named so now it’s just THE REST. Eventually they changed it to “the Professor and Maryann.” But it still bugs me that it started off as the rest. Were there plans for others? Were there others on the ship that just didn’t make it? Or were they planning on killing off the Professor and Maryann?

Andrew and I went to Husavik to go whale watching and as he was buying tickets the lady at the counter attempted to warn us off from purchasing them or from getting on the boat. “This isn’t a good day. The swells are already 2 meters and it’s only going to get worse. People are having sea sickness and it’s foggy so you can’t see the horizon which only makes it worse”. It was like the part in a scary movie where people are moving into the house and the house says, “GET OUT” and the people are like – oh, that’s probably not even a thing…

I did go and buy some liquid sea sickness tincture at the apothecary which Andrew and I each took. When we got to the boat the woman who would be our guide warned us not to get on because the swells were 2 meters and there was fog and sea sickness. We got on. Already we were bundled up, but then we put on the coveralls and rain jackets that were provided with the tour. I asked Andrew about how long the trip was. “It’s a three hour tour.” A THREE HOUR TOUR!!!

I decided right there and then that I was going to be the Movie Star in Gilligan’s Iceland, because I was certainly not going to be anyone’s wife, and I did not want to be “and the rest”. Andrew opted for the Millionaire, so I started scoping the boat for a good selection for his wife and away we sailed (after a thorough search with the only candidate being a possibly single woman with the brattiest girl in the world as her daughter, we decided he’d make a better the Professor).

About an hour into the tour the guide got super excited because a bird flew by. It was The Last Puffin (which is the working title of a kid’s book I’m writing – or possibly an anti-smoking pamphlet). Puffins migrate at the end of summer and generally all at once. They left Iceland a week before we showed up and this one had not gotten the memo.

Maybe another 20 minutes in and the guide stated with glee, “Over at 10 o’clock. Over at 10 o’clock!” We’d been taught to think of the boat as a clock with the bow being 12 o’clock and the stern 6 o’clock and all the other numbers approximated between. I was already situated at 9 o’clock and didn’t have to move. But a lot of my shipmates did have to lurch over to my side of the ship. And then I saw it. A fellow traveler at 10 o’clock hurling over the side. I also saw the whale that was being pointed out, but the vomiting was a bit of a distraction. My sister used to be an EMT and my mother was a nurse and they always said that everyone has their bodily fluid that they cannot handle – for some it’s blood, others it poo, for me it’s vomit. It’s disgusting and even talking about it makes me reach for the sea sickness tincture. But there’s this man right in front of me on the ship not really thinking about anything other than “maybe I should have said no to the lox for breakfast.”

Ultimately, he and about half the boat went to the back of the ship (where it’s relatively calmer) as the seas got crazier and the whale watching more intense. We saw humpback whales, two of them, swimming and eating and diving right with each other. This is relatively uncommon as the humpbacks are usually solitary. They would dive for about 8 minutes then come up and breathe a few times before diving again. It was pretty cool. Then, just as I started getting too cold and tired for it all we started heading back and were served hot chocolate (to those who could stomach it). We got back to the dock, peeled off our clothes and went to find some hot food. I was relieved the three hour tour was only three hours and not three seasons.

Whale watching was surprisingly exhausting.

The next day we drove around the Northern Iceland area. There are crater-like mounds that were created by hot lava hitting land that had cold water in it.

These crater-mounds surround a lake. The scenery is gorgeous and my camera is not doing it justice.

These crater-mounds surround a lake. The scenery is gorgeous and my camera is not doing it justice.

There was lots of horses and some more sheep.

Then after touring around we found our second hot springs. This one too was man made and more of a warm springs. That didn’t deter us from spending about an hour and a half in the water. We went home ready for napping.

We stopped by the grocery for some food. Surprisingly, for a Scandanavian country, they still had carts that were Andrew sized. Apparently, Andrew is the approximate size of an average Icelandic toddler.

We stopped by the grocery for some food. Surprisingly, for a Scandanavian country, they still had carts that were Andrew sized. Apparently, Andrew is the approximate size of an average Icelandic toddler.

After a light nap and some dinner we went out on the town. As we were about to leave the bar I learned they were having pub quiz in only 30 minutes. I sat back down and told Andrew we were staying. Over the next half hour every human between the age of 16 and 25 in town was in the pub. Andrew and I were the oldest people in the bar. It got so full I decided the excitement of Icelandic trivia was outweighed by the quiet and peace of the house we were staying in and the promise of more knitting. Well, this is not my 40th birthday present for nothing, it was time for my Metamucil.

The next day we drove back to Reykjavik.

During all of our driving and for some time each evening, I was knitting the sweater pattern that I had picked up in Alafoss on our way up to Akureyri. By Friday night I had joined the sleeves to the body and only had the decolletage and neck left to knit.

Saturday we wandered the streets of Reykjavic. Andrew guided us through research he’d done on the Interwebs and a snarky guidebook he’d found in the AirBnB that had commentary in it such as – if you are injured by someone in Iceland here are emergency things you might need, and also, consider your life choices and what got you into a fight in the first place. Before we left for our walkabout Andrew commented on my clothing choices out of concern for my warmth. I commented on his conversation choices out of concern for my independence. We left the house in good spirits and teased each other every time we had to remove or add a layer of clothing. Overall, though, the weather was lovely and despite his posts to the contrary, I packed and dressed exactly right during our time here. Our walk through Reykjavic was scenic and included the infamous Icelandic hot dog which tasted like a hot dog with bonus lamb meat. I had about 2/3s of one, Andrew had about 2/3 of a lamb.

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The mountains in the background had rolling clouds on them adding amazing drama to the picturesque European buildings.

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Andrew “smiling”

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Icelanders are into their bathing. Not just hot springs but also pools. Our first night in Akureyri our landlord invited us to the pool with him – which at the time I thought was a bit weird. During our drives I was doing a lot of scenery watching and knitting so it was a while before I noticed that not only were there highway signs for gas, food, and lodging, but also signs for swimming pools.

Also seen here are signs for music, Animal husbandry, and emailing.

By the time we got back to Rejkyavic I realized what a culture of bathing it was and was ready to experience it. The pool in Reykjavic is huge. It is out doors and has a lap pool, a children’s lap pool, and a variety of hot tubs ranging in temperature and salinity. After testing out several, Andrew and I dozed lightly in the 38 (Celsius) degree saltwater offering with about 20 other people. I played a game of “American?” and in my head was basically singing the Madeline Kahn song in History of the World Part I, “Yes,  no, no, no, no, no, no. Yes, no…”

That evening we went home and I put the finishing touches on my Icelandic Lopi sweater.

I knit this in five days. Some days I had more time to spend on it than others. I would guess that total knitting time was 20 - 25 hours.

I knit this in five days. Some days I had more time to spend on it than others. I would guess that total knitting time was 20 – 25 hours.

And this is what I did in Iceland instead of blogging.

Sunday we drove the Golden Circle – again, self-guided. Some of the tours were 15 hours long and that sounded like an awfully long time to put up with people we don’t know when one of us is an introvert and the other one of us hates people (and one of us likes hot chocolate but only when one of us orders it for the other one of us and never has one of us order it for one of us selves – read Andrew’s FB photo-blog if you want to [kind of] understand this).

We got to the park where the tectonic plates are literally pulling apart from each other and there was not really that much to look at. I mean, the scenery was magnificent, but that’s par for the course around here. Apparently there is some interesting scuba diving available here, but the most interesting thing for us about scuba is Andrew’s fear trepidation anxiety concern worry aversion to getting his face in the water. We hopped back into the car and headed to Gullfoss (gold falls).

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I grew up in Niagara Falls and every weekend I would walk from my house to the falls and wander around Goat Island (sadly, there are no Goats on Goat Island). I was not expecting to be as awed by Gullfoss as I was (sadly, there is no gold at gold falls). They were mesmerizing and astonishing and breathtaking. We hiked all the way down to them and just sat for a bit.

Our next stop was Geysir (pronounced Kay-sir in Iceland, Gai-zer in America, and Gi-zer in retirement homes and England). Geysir is the original geyser that all other geysers take their name from. It is basically an occasionally spewing hot spring (insert your geyser spewing joke here) and has been active for 10,000 years (insert your geezer spewing joke here).

No jaunt around Iceland would be complete without a hot springs dip so off we went to Secret Lagoon. This hot spring, in Fludir, was probably the most natural we have bathed in. The water temperature was slightly more variable, there were fewer tourists and it seemed most of them were brought by an Icelander. Andrew is a great tour guide. I drove us home – having no knitting left to do. Andrew napped – having more than a half hour in a moving vehicle.

We had a nice dinner at Resto, a seafood restaurant about 3 minutes from our lodgings. Andrew turned his nose up at my fish soup because it smelled like fish. I questioned his taking me to a fish restaurant, and his upbringing in Alaska. Then we relaxed at home for a bit before taking a night stroll on the water.

Today is our last day here. Andrew worked out at CrossFit Reykjavic and now we are in a coffee shop relaxing, and one of us is catching up on blogging while the other one of us is drinking hot chocolate that one of us bought for the other one of us and now that one of us is done blogging one of us wants to go to the pool so that one or both of us can get our soak on.

Then we will find some dinner, pack up, and in the morning say bless (Icelandic for goodbye) to a lovely island.

Tomorrow we have a 7 hour layover in New York. I would like to reiterate my idea of airport karaoke to any enterprising entrepreneurs out there.

Hole In One

Andrew and I both hate shopping. For me the idea of going to the grocery store is so anathema that I have to plan for it a full day in advance, take a few Motrin, be out of food so much that my only lunch option is a swig of olive oil and a five week old half-lemon, and have a boyfriend incapacitated with pneumonia on the couch begging to be put out of his misery. And even then the reason I “planned” a day in advance was to see if he’d get better before committing to the trip.

I hate the store (doesn’t matter which chain I hate each of them thoroughly), I hate the people shopping at the store, I hate the parking situation, I hate the layout, I hate feeling like I am on a scavenger hunt, I hate knowing that when I get home and unpack the groceries is the moment I am going to remember the crucial thing I have been meaning to purchase – and I didn’t remember it on this trip, I hate the cost, I hate that we have 20 reusable bags and either forget to bring them or are inevitably one short – no matter how many we bring.

The only thing that makes grocery shopping bearable at all is that Andrew does it. Second to that – in such cases as his imminent death – I do like the app AnyList. At least on that app I never forget my grocery list, throughout the week I ask Andrew to put things on it, or I put things on it and because we share our grocery list we can add to our single list from either phone. It’s quite convenient. But, mostly, I just send Andrew to the store.

He hates shopping too. But not grocery shopping so much. And not luggage shopping in fact, that’s a bit of a fetish for him. No, Andrew hates all other out-of-the-house-shoppings. Most of all, he hates clothing shopping. He hates trying things on, replacing clothing, spending money on clothing (with the caveat that if it is a jacket with so many pockets that it can double as luggage he is not only into it, but he’s INTO it).

Here’s where Andrew and my active support of each other in our relationship differ. Because, since I hate grocery shopping Andrew takes care of it, and even thanked me for going while he was laid up because he knows how much I hate it. Me, I am less supportive of Andrew’s shopping hatred.

So there we were last night on the couch, Andrew’s feet resting on my knees as I knit. I started playing a silly game of “this little piggy” on his foot when I suddenly realized his sock had a hole in it. I stuck my finger in it and said, “do you know your sock has a hole in it?” Andrew made eye contact with me and it was like a deer staring into headlights. He knew something bad was about to go down but also he knew that nothing he did was going to stop it. I wriggled my finger into that hole and pulled it open until the sock was a leg warmer.

We laughed as Andrew found a new pair of socks all the while muttering something that vaguely sounded like, “you crazy bitch” though it may have been “thank you for helping me not be a grown man that walks around with holes in my clothing.” They sound similar. And, I would ask him which one of those it was.

But he is currently out grocery shopping.

Hadas GOES to Chicago

This is the face of depression:

IMG_1953You may think the smile belies the statement, but it doesn’t. I have depression. Usually it hits pretty severely in August but this year I was too busy for it – it takes a lot of time and energy to hate one’s job.

Well, once my body sensed some spare time, depression found me – and hit me hard. For the past week it has been really hard to motivate myself out of bed. I have been forcing myself to brush my teeth. Getting out of the house is a constant negotiation. But I want to be clear, I am not sad. I am just utterly demotivated to participate in my life. It’s like a heavy weight is depressing me (hence the term “depression”). I have upped my dosage (and consistency) of vitamin D and have allowed myself forgiveness for canceling out on plans with people.

Tuesday felt a bit better – spending some time with friends helped. Wednesday even better – partly that is due to adventure.

I arrived at the airport at 7:40AM for my GOES interview. The interviewer arrived at his office about 10 minutes after I did. Obviously I was the first one scheduled. I dropped my luggage in the waiting area and sat across from him. He had floppy hair that I would have guessed to be a toupee had it been more well groomed, and was wearing a police-ish uniform that shouldn’t come in that size. I was apparently the first adult female he’d ever spoken to as he immediately started sing-song talking to me like I was four and dressed in my favorite princess outfit. “Do you understand what having global entry means?” I batted my eyelashes and in a warbly soprano, surrounded by woodland creatures, “Oh heavens, no. Do tell!”

For fifteen minutes he spoke down to me of all the fancy benefits and took my fingerprints. Finally he set me free and offered his hand to shake. The douche-chills ran down my spine but were slightly calmed by the sound of the next person to be interviewed shuffling around behind me. I mentally took a Silkwood shower and wandered over to the Alaskan Airlines counter to get my boarding pass and cajole them into adding my newly minted pre-check status.

Unfortunately, it takes about 24 hours for “the system” to process global entry so I had to line up with the proletariat, take off my boots and remove my laptop – like an animal.

I got to my gate with about 2 hours to spare. Chris Hardwick and I snuggled up and napped lightly. On the plane I pulled out my knitting and was extremely grateful for my noise canceling headphones as the man next to me was obviously trying to chat me up. I looked over to the man in the aisle across from me. He took an amazing amount of time to get settled and finally did with some sort of blanket shawl/scarf thing. He took two throat hits of Cēpacol, sneezed twice into the crook of his arm and fell right to sleep. I am pretty sure I now have Ebola (is it just me or is everyone using this :& as the Ebola emoticon?).

Several inches of knitting, a snack of salami and two Nerdists later we landed in O’Hare. I am in Chicago to visit my friend, who offered for me to come visit when she found out I was unemployed, and to participate in ComedySportz Midwest Invitational Tournament (Portland plays tonight!). My friend lives in Printers Row and told me to get on the Blue Line and off at LaSalle which is two blocks from her apartment. I went into the tunnels under O’Hare to find the El. I am not certain how far down those tunnels are – I was still getting cell reception – but by the temperature, I would guess we were only about fifty miles from hell – it was either sweltering or my :& fever had sunk in already.

I found the ticketing machine and took almost ten minutes and two failed attempts before I finally got my week long El and bus Ventra pass. I blame the :&, it’s melting my brain (also, now when I say Ebola in my head it sounds like the guy in the Ricola commercial). I then continued on the people movers to follow the blue signs to Terminal 1. It wasn’t until I actually got to Terminal 1 before I realized I was not heading to the Blue Line of the El but to a terminal in the airport. At some point I am going to have to stop blaming :& but I believe that point is in 21 days. I u-turned back to the ticket machine and found the actual Blue Line.

One stop in a man got up from his seat and offered it to me. “No thanks, I have been sitting all day.” Which started us into a lovely conversation. Shelly is an auditor for a marketing something or other. We talked projects, start-ups, Chicago, travel. He offered me his contact information, and told me I have another friend in Chicago. I took it (because, networking) and gave him my relationship status information. He took it well and mentioned something about us just being strangers on a train (I hope I don’t have to kill someone for him now). It was all very pleasant, even with my douche-meter needing recalibration from having been set off that morning, and the time zone change.

I found my way to my friend’s apartment with only going in the wrong direction once. I am now snuggled with a dog named Miley. Like the original she has short hair, drools all over the place and can’t really twerk despite all the tail wagging.

A Tale of Two Cities

Friday I got up at 8:15 to the sound of a purring in my ear.

The AirBnB I was staying at was a one bedroom apartment a few clicks (I’m so Canadian) out of downtown Vancouver. My host (B.E.) was staying in her bedroom and I had a “private” room – better defined as a fold-out in the living room. The privacy was provided by curtains she had hung between the kitchen and couch. She was a pleasant young girl if not a little bit chatty and her cat Maci was even chattier (but more snuggly).

I showered and dressed and looked out at the rainy day.

What I felt like doing was going to my couch at home and knitting in front of a black and white Audrey Hepburn movie while sipping on some whiskey-fied tea. But, damn it, I was on vacation. It was time to go tourist.

The light-rail was two blocks away and upon getting there I started to second guess the internal scoffing I did when B.E. showed me where the umbrella was. Three blocks of walking downtown looking for a breakfast place and I looked like I had just gotten done with an all day all access Splash Mountain visit. I found some warmth and sustenance and determined my day.

I still really wanted to knit. And drink. And watch a movie.

Instead, I got back on the tram and went to the waterfront. Once there I wandered around the gaslight area for a little while and stumbled upon a knit shop. Within a few minutes I found a project and made my purchases, I walked back out with a plan. I was going to go back to the apartment and knit and watch a movie on Netflix because really it was what I had wanted to do and apparently God wanted the same for me which is why that knit shop was right there where I was.

I got back to the apartment and did not run into any of the neighbors who I had been told were nice, but I was to say I was a friend visiting from out of town if they asked any questions. I dried off and got cozy with my knitting, the Lance Armstrong documentary, and Maci snuggled and purring on my lap.

About an hour in, I heard the door open and looked up to find a 20-something looking at me and chatting away in what I can easily pick out as an Israeli accent. It turns out that she was a friend of D.E. and was crashing at her apartment because she had just rented out her own apartment on AirBnB last minute and D.E. said it was cool. She was on a juice cleanse and was starving because the thought of drinking the juice she had made for herself was making her sick, but really, she needed to lose weight because her boyfriend was losing interest in her and also she owned a vegan juice bar so if she was going to recommend these things to her clients she should really try them herself. But, oops, she’d be right back because if there was one thing for certain the cleanse part of the cleanse is accurate.

While she was in the bathroom I quickly changed clothes and sped out of the apartment to some Malaysian food.

I sat at the restaurant knitting and listening to the conversations around me. All the while, I was trying to figure out what to do. Vancouver was pretty, but it was just like Portland – except I didn’t know where to go to have fun and the only people I knew were the magpies in the ever-shinking one bedroom I was staying in. I got back to the apartment, asked my host to show me how to work the TV and started chatting on the computer with various friends online.

One of my friends invited me to brunch the next morning. At that point, I had already considered going home the next day. Well, what the hell, it was 9:30PM and I was awake enough to drive. I packed myself up, said goodbye to my host, and hit the road.

The border crossing had a pretty decent line at it and I was already going through the many scenarios of questioning I would face. “Says here you were going to be in Canada until Sunday. Back so soon? Please follow the agent with the latex gloves into that room Miss.” But, once I got to the booth the guy took my card and asked where I was from. “Vancouver, Washington.” “Ahhh,” he nodded, “the real Vancouver.” handed me my ID and sent me on my way.

I got back to my house at 2:40 in the morning and slept like a log.

The rest of the weekend has been great. I got some knitting done, some brunching in, some friend time and 9 holes of golf this morning. It was the perfect vacation in Vancouver.

And now, I will knit, and drink, and watch an old black and white Hepburn.

Movember

Me: How do I look?

Andrew: GAH! Why do you have a beard and mustache?

Me: You don’t like it?

Andrew: Why?

Me: Well I needed something to keep my face warm while riding my motorcycle and scarves are too bulky and get in the way of the helmet and really I am cold just in the parts that the beard would cover.

Andrew: That’s pretty cool.

Me: Kiss me!

Andrew: NO!

Me: Yes.

Andrew: (giggling) No.

During the rest of this time you should know Andrew is giggling. Also, I should note I am laying on top of him with my face right in front of his attempting to beard rape him.

Me: Are you afraid of the beard?

Andrew: Yes.

Me: Are you afraid if you kiss me and enjoy it that it means you’re gay?

Andrew: No.

Me: Then kiss me.

Andrew: blugh.

Me: You know, if you don’t kiss me it means you are homophobic?

Andrew: How is that?

Me: Well you find me attractive and now with my beard you are afraid of enjoying the kissing which means you are afraid of your own sexuality.

Andrew: Your logic is intimidating when you look like a Rabbi.

As the Talmud says…

(I may have made that last line up).

Kiss me!