July 5th, 2007


Wagons ho, but not my wagons.

Our Swedish family is heading out this morning -- not back to Sweden yet, but to points west, to see cactus and desert and Disneyland and San Francisco. I think we all had an extremely good visit together, and I'm more eager to go back to Stockholm than I was before they came. (And note that the prospect of going back to Stockholm didn't precisely fill me with indifference before.) We all knew that we were fond of Johan and Ulla, and I had e-mailed with Lars (who will turn 20 in August) and seen him when he was a baby, but we really didn't know Henrik (18) and Sophie (16) at all. And now they're their own people for us and not just an undifferentiated mass labeled "Johan and Ulla's kids." Also we actually like the people they are. There's no guarantee that people you like will have kids you like, or that they won't be going through an awkward time when you see them. But it was fun for everyone, I think. Certainly it was fun for me, and I can't wait to hear the updates on their travels farther west. I hope they come back soon.

I was going to make you guess which pair of words we couldn't manage to translate into Swedish with the collective might of the whole family, but I don't think you'd ever get there, so I'll just tell you: cobbler or crisp, in the sense of a fruit-bottomed dessert. They have words for cobbler meaning "person who makes shoes" and for crisp as an adjective, but they thought the dessert would probably have the same word as "pie." I fed them cherry-peach crisp, so it wasn't that they didn't know what I was talking about, it's just that Swedish isn't big on that particular culinary vocabulary subset.

(And in other news, cherry peach crisp with fresh cherries and peaches is a really, really good idea. Such a good idea that I may make another for my birthday party. Yum.)

Around here, I'm going to start catching up on the things that haven't gotten done in the last week, including work on the book and various other things. (Mopping. Laundry. Sleep.)
good mris pic

Successful International Conspiracies

We were driving down Hennepin, my dad behind the wheel and me in the passenger's seat and Lars, Henrik, and Sophie in the back. I was pointing out what various buildings were when they asked me, or else when I felt like it. We passed Franklin, and you can see the Scottish Rite temple behind Sebastian Joe's from Hennepin. "What is that?" they asked.

"That's a Masonic temple," I said. Brief conference in Swedish in the backseat; nobody knew. They asked, "What is that religion?" I said, "It's not really a religion, it's...have you seen the Stonecutters episode of The Simpsons?" I began to sing: "Who controls the British crown, who keeps the metric system down...?"

And immediately Lars and Henrik chimed in, right on cue and with enthusiasm: "We do! We do!"

My dad was greatly amused.

I said, "So that's who they were making fun of in that episode. The Masons or Freemasons, but they called it the Stonecutters." "This is a national club?" asked Lars. "International," I said, but it got me thinking: there appears to be some successful international conspiracy here, but it sure isn't the Masons. We're onto you, Matt Groening.

In other news, greykev brought me a Fodor's Scandinavia in 1952 with Finland and the Olympic Games, and the minute I opened it, I knew that any hopes I had of avoiding writing Laura's book were gone, gone, gone. (Laura, for those of you not keeping track of the cast of fictional people in this journal -- which really should be the vast majority of you, because you have better things to do with those brain cells -- used to be in Thermionic Night and Copper Mountain. I thought I was changing her name to Lucy, except that her behavior changed, and then it was suddenly clear to me that Laura, rather than not existing, was the other sister back home in England. And that she wanted a book. Quoth I, "Crap, crud, and corrosion." And now I know in somewhat more detail which book, as this lovely Fodor's is admonishing her that if she insists on traveling by air they will weigh her hatbox. I am going to have to exercise my not-writing-of-books skills to the utmost while I read this one. I'd put it off, but I'm going to want it for Copper Mountain revisions now that I have it. Bother. Ooh! But bother. But ooh! Etc.)