Saturday, July 19, 2008

You might have lived in Denmark too long when...

You end up going on a 7 mile run in search of a good loaf of bread. Seriously.

I am going to a dinner party tonight and the theme is "brunch for dinner." Yay, because I LOVE breakfast/brunch foods and I eat them for dinner often on my own. (Who has time to make an omelet on a weekday morning!?) This morning I made a blueberry lemon loaf with lemon glaze and currently in the oven is a loaf of banana cranberry bread with brown sugar cinnamon crumble o top. Both are new recipes for me, so hopefully they will turn out yummy. From the batter (which I tasted at every stage! Who knows when it might have accidentally mutated into a poisoned disaster! Kind chefs and good friends put themselves on the lines as taste testers!), they tasted pretty promising...! :) Anyway, I didn't just want to bring two sweet, dessert-y breads (I'm bringing lemon curd and blackberry jam to go with them, by the way!) but I didn't have time to bake a loaf of regular bread so I decided to take advantage of my surroundings (Denmark) and all it has to offer (some of the best bakeries in the world!) and go out and buy a fresh Saturday loaf of bread.

I also decided that, because I was so bad with my batter tasting this morning, I would repent a bit and pick up the bread from a bakery near the end of one of my regular running routes which always smells tauntingly delicious when I run by. Unfortunately, I set out a little late (around 1pm) so by the time I made the loop and got to the bakery, it was closed. Bummer. Still wanting to bring bread and high on adrenaline and batter-induced sugar rush, I ended up running all over town looking for a bakery that had an appealing looking loaf of bread. I finally found one at a tucked away bakery that I didn't know existed on a square near my place. Curious (and wanting to log the correct distance on BTT - JEFF!), I mapped my run when I returned and it was just over 7 miles. 7 unintentional miles in search of a loaf of bread. (If I had been able to get it from the originally intended bakery it would have only been 5ish.) Did I mention I was hungover, too? :)

From my observations, Danes love exercising and they love bakeries. I bet I'm not the only person in Copenhagen that has ever combined the the two! :)

Hopefully the Italian loaf I got plus the two loaves I'm making will be delicious! Maybe I'll post pictures or something. I've always wanted to have a food blog, but I unfortunately don't cook enough delicious looking or fancy stuff to qualify.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Muphry's Law

Yes, Muphry. Possibly Murphy's cousin?

Hahaha :)

Vikings and Bagpipes

For the past couple of days, mysterious bagpipe music has been wafting through my open office windows. I've yet to catch a glimpse of the vagabond pipe player but, because bagpipes are relatively uncommon in Denmark, I've been actively speculating as to his or her identity and appearance. Here are my two theories (courtesy of my MS Paint skills and not being busy at work):

Piper Gone Viking:

Viking Gone Piper (yes, I am aware that the mouthpiece of the bagpipe is oriented incorrectly):

Is Copenhagen the new Scotland? Will Gammeltorv replace the Scottish Highlands? Only time (and perhaps venturing outside of the office to investigate) will tell.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Okay, I know this is completely weird, but I have to confess because, regardless of my personal involvement, I can still see the funny ridiculousness inherent in this situation:

For years I've gone back and forth thinking I might have diabetes for various reasons. Yes, diabetes. I mean, in my defense, it's not that that far off; my maternal grandmother has it.

According to the American Diabetes Association's website, some of the symptoms of diabetes are
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Increased fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Blurry vision
For as long as I can remember, I've been what most would class as a "frequent urinator." TMI, I KNOW, but it's illustrative so bear with me for a second. In all seriousness, if you ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you I have to pee way more frequently than the average person, even if I haven't been drinking very much during the day! (I am not popular on road trips.) I once asked my gynecologist if I could perhaps be considered for Detrol LA, which is prescribed for people with overactive bladder. She asked if I had ever had, erm, "leakage." (The medical term is incontinence). Thankfully, no, I hadn't. Unfortunately this lead her to think I didn't really need Detrol LA. Boo. My small bladder (or diabetes!) continues to plague me to this day.

During college, I was struck by a number of the other symptoms so severely at different times, I was sure I had diabetes. My roommate gave me a hard time for taking a nap after class practically every day during freshman and sophomore years. Not my fault! It was diabetes-induced increased fatigue! (No, definitely not my up-all-night party lifestyle!) If I was feeling grouchy or emo... diabetes-induced irritability! And I experienced blurry vision, like, once a year. Granted, it was usually before an appointment with the optometrist to get new contacts... But regardless!! 'Betes, I tell you! :)

Most recently, I've been convinced I have diabetes because of my extreme thirst. This recent symptom came out of nowhere because, since I've been in Denmark, my "possibly hypochondric" diabetes have thankfully been in "remission." Must be the Nordic air. Anyway, now that the Nordic air is getting balmier, my 'betes seems to be back. I have been taking a full-force combative stance against this recent symptom by drinking LITERS of liquid (water, juice, etc. etc.) every day... And I still feel thirsty most of the time! All signs (okay, WebMD, the American Diabetes Association's website and various other hypochondriac friendly web sources) once again point to diabetes. Oh no!

Conveniently, I found out recently that my friend Lisbet has diabetes. So, when I was going on and on about how thirsty I was and how I might have diabetes at work today, she offered to use her test kit to help me settle my fears once and for all. Okay, sounds good, I thought.

... Then she whips out a scary looking little white plastic needle thing and tells me I have to prick myself.

WHAT?! Ouch. No way. (Some people would say I'm a wimp/complete pussy. I'd like to think that I am just NOT sadomasochist for finger pricking! Yes, it's sadomasochistic. Hmpf!)

"Do you want me to do it for you?" she asked, helpfully.

"No!" I responded... with admittedly more fear and less indignation than I had intended.

After about five minutes of hemming and hawing I decide to just go for it and prick my middle finger. (I mean, she does it five times per day! I need to man-up.)


I quickly recoil from the needle sting, but recover in time to squeeze a drop of blood out of my stinging finger onto the test strip.

The machine beeps a few seconds later, informing us that my blood glucose level is 6.3. Lisbeth tells me that normal is about 5-6.5. So I am just barely normal. Squeeked in. I wonder if I had measured it before I ate an apple (which I ate less than ten minutes before taking the test), if I would have tested differently. Like, diabetes differently. Hmm...

So, I am happy to say that a solid medical test has assuaged my fears for now (go science!), though I unhappily inform you that I am still really thirsty, despite the fact that I just guzzled the entirety of my 32oz. Nalgene. Meh.

Oh, and as a final follow-up... my finger has been hurting all evening where I pricked it. I am such a complete wimp. I can't imagine if I ever get diabetes for real. :(

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Gift Wrapping

So, I'm an hour into my marathon 15 hour day here at work and instead of doing something productive for my company I've been busy wrapping some gifts to send out tomorrow.

Let the record show that the reason I've never volunteered to wrap gifts at the mall during the holidays is NOT because I am a Scrooge-y Grinch. It is because I absolutely suck at wrapping presents and people would probably cry if they saw a gift wrapped by me under their Christmas tree/received it for Channukah. I've never wrapped one, but I'm pretty sure I'm the only person in the world that could make a lovely, heartfelt diamond engagement ring look like a lump of coal all wrapped up and sealed with a bow.

My intentions are always good... I like to buy really cute wrapping/tissue paper, bags, and ribbons and things... but intentions are unfortunately not results.

Seriously, I don't know how I am so fucking retarded at it. I even manage to slightly screw up elementary square and rectangular things.

Sarah's gift wrapping skills = FAIL.

Speaking of heat:

I've been posting a lot of NYT articles recently. I haven't been reading it any more or less than usual, I've just been especially interested in an uncharacteristically high number of articles recently.

Rise and Shine? More like Rise and Suck.

In the previous post I mentioned this morning's run. When I am motivated to get up and run before work I like to call it a "Rise and Shine Run." (This does not happen frequently enough for my liking, but I'm lazy and I like my bed, so what can I say? Contrary to what a lot of people think/have told me, I'm actually not ridiculously hard on myself in ALL facets of my life.) I call it Rise and Shine because running before work entails that I essentially roll out of bed and throw on my gear no later than 6am to head off on my regular 8k route. I need to go this early to allow myself enough time to get home and shower, laze around watching The Ellen Degeneres Show (its on at 7.10am in Denmark) and BBC News while I eat breakfast, drink a massive cup of coffee, and get dressed before heading off to work on my bike around 8:30. (I need at least an hour to do post-run stuff, but I try to allow for some "wiggle room." (And by wiggle room I mean "uh-oh, I just got totally enraptured in some BBC story about this or that, it's 8.20 and I'm still sitting here in my towel" room) Admittedly, I'm a bit lethargic in the morning, regardless of whether I run or not.) So yeah, anyway, when I head off on a RSR I usually head out the door in a hypnagogic state. Sometimes I even have the strange yet distinct sensation that I’m about to fall asleep during my entire first kilometer or so. It’s weird.

I've actually dragged myself out of bed for an RSR two days in a row now, which is an accomplishment in the middle of the week because my office has "morning meetings" every Wednesday at 8.30am, so I need to leave my apartment extra early on Wednesdays to get there in time. Because of this, I usually don't even try to wake up in time for an RSR on Wednesdays because a) I have to get up extra early because I have to be AT work by the time I usually try to leave my place and b) breakfast is served at the meetings, so even if I did go for an RSR, I'd have to wait to refuel afterwards and by the time the meeting started I'd probably be starving and eat too much. I mean, yeah, technically don't have to. I could eat my regular breakfast at home and skip the meeting breakfast, but warm bread and jam from one of the best bakeries in town is difficult to pass up and a yummy once-a-week indulgence worth waiting for. Anyway, though, shocker of all shockers, I actually dragged myself out of bed for an RSR both Wednesday and today (Thursday) this week. And, believe it or not, I even limited myself to just one piece of warm bread with raspberry jam at the meeting (I've been surprisingly unhungry recently). So, why am I about to complain? Because today’s run kind of sucked.

It all started off okay. I didn’t even feel the first kilometer tiredness I sometimes do… but, by the time I hit kilometer two or three I had a really, really strange feeling in my right calf every time my foot hit the ground. It was almost an “itchy” feeling, for lack of a better description. Not itchy on the outside. More like an itchy muscle on the inside. (???) It didn’t hurt so much as it was just uncomfortable. It lasted the rest of my run and I’m still feeling it, hours later, at 2pm. I’m a little concerned, and I just spent the last hour engaged in a quasi-hypochondraic WedMD quest for a diagnosis. I’ve considered DVT, fibromyalgia, and phlebitis, to name a few. Then I got bored. Undiagnosed ADD, I know it!

The rest of my run was okay, I guess. Parts were enjoyable. I saw some really cute baby ducks and some ugly baby swans (Hans Christian Andersen, anyone?). But, and now I know I have lived in Denmark too long, I WAS SOOOO HOT. It was weird, because when I live in the Mid-Atlantic United States I often run in the summer when it’s like 90 degrees F+ humidity without much complaint. This morning it was like 70F without humidity in Copenhagen and I felt really hot, sweaty, and grouchy. I guess my stalwart Viking blood is only applicable to cold weather tolerance these days.

At the end of my run, the worst and grossest thing happened. I was running along my last leg of the lakes before I turn up the street towards my house. Instead of staying on the gravel path by the lake, I popped up onto the paved area. Apparently (I did not know this), this is a “bike path,” (cykelsti) or so the guy I accidentally cut off told me. I think he’s wrong, because I’ve seen people running up there before, but whatever. Moreover, he should have been looking out for me. First of all, I had my head phones on. Second of all, I was running in front of him. Third of all, I feel the fact that he nearly ran into me mere nanoseconds after I slightly diverged from my straight path is strongly indicative that he was biking WAY too close to me. I quickly apologized, kept running, and thought nothing of it until about 30 seconds later. At the end of my last lake leg I stopped to have a quick sip of water (I’m telling you, I was sooo hot!) before I headed off on the last, road leg home, which I usually try to pick up the pace on (you know, finish strong and all that!). As I stood there taking a quick sip, I saw the guy I had accidentally cut off was stuck in the middle of the road (the light had turned when he was halfway, so he got stuck on the median. FACT: Danish people never cross against the lights). He turned back and looked at me while I was looking at him and… get this… gave me that gross vagina licking sign!! (You know the one with your two fingers in a reverse victory/peace sign with your tounge licking around in the middle!?!) OMG. So gross anytime, but especially at 6.45am. EEEEEW. I immediately sprinted off up the street, not even spending time recapping my water bottle. So, so gross. I cannot get over it. Catcalling rarely happens in Denmark, much less that kind of obscenity.

It only got worse later in the morning when I was telling my colleague Pernille about it. She was grossed out too, but then she asked if he was cute. Um, hello? Even if he was I refuse to date or associate with guys who act like that and think it’s okay. No way. Eeew.

So yeah, my run this morning, with the exception of seeing the cute ducks, was largely a Rise and Suck, rather than a Rise and Shine. I might take the day off tomorrow. I’m working super late tonight (12am-2am perhaps. I have special duties tonight. Boo.) so I’m taking the day off tomorrow and going to get my hair “fixed” (too blonde) at 10am. We’ll see. I guess it depends how my (probably soon-to-be-amputated, I know it!) leg feels. Hopefully this is just a passing thing though. I’m already signed up for one race (just a short 5k, but it has hills) when I get back to the States and I’m thinking about signing up for a 15k and a couple more 8 and 10ks here in Denmark and back in the States. So, hopefully I’m okay. And not scarred for life from my major gross out. Meh.

Rickshaw Rollin'

I had a dream last night that I was a rickshaw driver. I was thinking about it during my run this morning and decided it would probably be a good fit "job" (okay, hobby. Are people full-time, career rickshaw drivers? Maybe in Asia.) for me since I bike all the time now. But, on the flip side, I imagine it would be really, really hard at times. Case in point: In my dream a huge, sweaty guy came up and told me he wanted to go "up the hill, just for fun, to check out the view from the top." I must have been in San Francisco or something, because I remember staring up this massive, daunting hill while this guy lumbered into my rickshaw. Thank goodness I woke up just as I started to pedal. Heave-ho.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The key is the glitzy belts

Bill Cunningham's amusing commentary on the falling of waistlines, literally:

Some of my favorite quotes:

"This started in the prisons, when they took their belts away... it became a style. You never know where style's coming from."

"... And, the skull. The skull is absolutely between goth and street but without the bones."

"It's just terrible. I've waited and waited." (this quote kinda makes it sound like it would be a treat for Cunningham if it happened... even in context! hahaha)

"But it's the trousers that seem to be reflecting the ups and downs of the stock market!" (after he's been talking about glitter belts for ages)

"The streets are speaking to us. This is a small group. They're mainly Hispanic and Black men. And there are white kids. I tell you! They're coming in from the suburbs and the pants are fallign down! But they've added this year the glitzy belt. That's the key."

Psychology News in The New York Times

The New York Times recently published two articles I found psychologically interesting. One was on the Milgram Experiment. The other was on approval bias when it comes to consumption of fruits and vegetables and how this differs from the standard tendency for people to overestimate daily caloric intake.

Henry Cuir

I was browsing the Barneys website yesterday (sooo many beautiful things! I was going to make a Barney's wishlist post, but it was taking too long and making me too depressed - $1,005 Louboutins were on it...) and discovered Henry Cuir. He makes leather handbags and assorted small goods, often with embroidery. Normally I wouldn't associate embroidery as something I generally like, but he has all this stuff with the cutest bicycle on it. Since I've become a true cyclist during my time in Denmark, I'm drawn to it. :)

I couldn't link items because they are not static images (stupid, Barneys), but I thought these things were cute:

Courier du Coeur Envelope - Leather (brown)

Courier du Coeur Envelope - Black
Courier du Coeur Large Travel Envelope - Black

And for a guy (way too big for me!):
Zig Zag Wallet - Dark Brown Black
Zig Zag Wallet - Leather

I also discovered a cute brown leather bike embroidery luggage tag during my browsing, but couldn't find it again at the time of this posting. :(