Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Aggressive weather

Seems like my vacation has been put on a slow-pace because of the bad, rainy weather.

Tomorrow I am told is supposed to be sunny and hot. Lets see if that holds true.

We may possibly head to the zoo which I have been so looking forward to.


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La Luz Del Mundo

Houston is also the city that has one of those La Luz Del Mundo churches. It originated in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Countries with congregations of La Luz del Mundo include: Australia, Israel, Russia, Cape Verde, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Moldova, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland, Romania, Norway, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Cuba, Curaçao, Jamaica, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Canada, United States, and Mexico.

It's an interesting building, oddly built in a strange neighborhood.

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H-town

Houston is the 6th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. with a population of 5.9 million. Our city has a population from various ethnic and religious backgrounds and a large and growing international community. Over 90 languages are spoken here.

The city has the third-largest Hispanic and third-largest Mexican population in the United States. It also has more Hispanic Americans than any other city in Texas.

It has a large gay community concentrated primarily in and around Neartown and Houston Heights. It is estimated that the Houston metropolitan area has the twelfth-largest number of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals in the United States. With the election of Annise Parker in 2009, Houston became the largest city in the United States to have an openly gay mayor.

The city is home to the nation’s third largest concentration of consular offices, representing 86 countries.

It is also considered to be a politically divided city whose balance of power often sways between Republicans and Democrats. Much of the city's wealthier areas vote Republican, while the city's middle class, and minority areas vote Democrat. According to the 2005 Houston Area Survey, 68 percent of non-Hispanic whites in Harris County are declared or favor Republicans while 89 percent of non-Hispanic blacks in the area are declared or favor Democrats. About 62 percent Hispanics (of any race) in the area are declared or favor Democrats. The city has often been known to be the most politically diverse city in Texas, a state known for being unanimously conservative.

This Bayou City will always have my heart. 4-years I hope to come back.



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Galveston Island, Texas

Galveston Island is a barrier island on the Texas Gulf coast in the United States, about 50 miles southeast of Houston.

The island is about 27 miles long and no more than 3 miles wide at its widest point. The island's main access point from the mainland is the Interstate Highway 45 causeway that crosses West Bay on the northeast side of the island. The far north end of the island is separated from the Bolivar Peninsula by Galveston Harbor, the entrance to Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel. Ferry service is available between Galveston Island and the Bolivar Peninsula. The southern end of the island is separated from the mainland by San Luis Pass. The San Luis Pass-Vacek Toll Bridge connects the San Luis Pass Road on Galveston Island with the Bluewater Highway that leads south into the town of Surfside Beach.

Originally, Akokisa and Karankawa Indians lived and camped here. Some believe the island is where Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and his party made a brief stop-over in November 1528, during his infamous Odyssey.

I have had many a weekend vacations here as a child, as well as, with my children.



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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rode Hard And Put Up Wet.

At least that is how I feel on this 2nd day of being in Houston. 

I can say that I am not good with jet-lag.  Whew!  Like right now.  It's 3:21 in the morning.  What am I doing up?  I am sitting here drinking cold refreshing tea and eating Cheetoh Puffs.  AND I don't think my sister-in-law would appreciate seeing orangy cheeto stains on her keyboard. 

I had a long flight Tuesday.  My first stop was in Frankfurt.  I think I threw the check-in lady at the airport for a curve.  She could not believe that I was traveling with only a back-pack... and then said that normally people would travel with several suitcases.  I told her that I was okay with wearing only one pair of underwear, shirt and shorts for two weeks.  That did not go down to well with her.  :)

My first stop in Frankfurt was hectic.  I did not know that it was a super, ginormous, scary large airport.  With only an hour and 40 minutes to get to my gate, I think I had suffered several heart-attacks.  Trying to get through security was a bitch and then I was reduced to a wee size when the German Customs' Officer gave me an icy stare.  I thought to myself and said in child-like voice, "Mommy".  Rammstein scares me. 

By the time I made it to the plane, I was sweating from every possible area on my body.  My shirt and make-up showed my true feelings.  I was wedged between two American dudes who helped me dry up.  They could not stop laughing at me.  I think I was cracking too many jokes that you would say only to your close relatives.  (Keld, you can only imagine how up-close and personal I can get with my jokes.)  BUT, I managed to calm down.  I think I downed four Bloody Mary's too.  I slept almost through that 8 hr. trip.  GOING THROUGH AMERICAN CUSTOMS IS A BITCH!  I had to explain why I was living in Denmark, what kind of work I was doing there, why was I coming back to the U.S., and why was I traveling with only a back-pack.  Then I was stopped by three airport police, who asked to see my passport.  The same questions came up in conversation... and one made me open my back-pack to see what was inside. 

When we landed in Boston, again with only 2 hrs. to get to my gate, after looking around for Continental, I finally focused on the sign and saw that I had to go to another terminal.  On route and walking really fast, I got a really painful cramp.  I am sure I looked like a freak, sweating bad, smeared make-up, and hopping/limping.  I finally checked  in.  Security was slow and as usual, they were demeaning to the people. 

It was almost a 4-hour trip to Houston.  I was very happy when we landed.  As I walked out of the gate, I stopped at Starbucks and got myself a small green tea frap... hopping to the exit and sipping my drink I smiled when the doors to the outside open and I felt the rush of Houston's humid air on my face. 

Happy to be back home.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Houston bound

In a few more days I will be having a frozen margarita and cheese enchiladas with my brother. ;)

What the hell is wrong with the kids here?

My first day back to work, after being off for two months due to illness, the kids welcomed me with this little surprise.



I find it pretty interesting that when I had first reported it to my boss, he did not believe me. I remember him snickering and saying, "Øv!". (Maybe my explaining it to him in Danish was not impacting enough, I was clearly disgusted and pissed off.)

36 years of my life, I never recall having the urge to poo in the sink or to hold/touch it.


NEVER!!!!
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Normally I am not one who likes to take a stroll around town because people tend to stare hard. Makes me feel uncomfortable too.

But when I do, I enjoy the scenry.

This Bed and Breakfast has a bomb shelter in the front yard.




Afterwards I took a stroll in the cemetary which had a pond. Stayed there a while and enjoyed the stillness and fed the turtles.


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Deep Throating...

in Denmark. :)

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Jutland trip

Skagen, once a remote fishing village and sparsely populated, became considerably easier to travel after it became connected to the rest of the country via a railroad line in 1890. It is extremely picturesque, and distinguished by its low, yellow houses with red tile roofs nestled into the beach areas.

The headland at Grenen, the northernmost point of Denmark, is a spectacular setting where two parts of the North Sea, the Kattegat and the Skagerrak, meet. This makes for turbulent seas and strandings — beachings and shipwrecks are common. The frequent shipping losses and the strategic location as the gateway to the Baltic led to Skagen being the site of one of Denmark's earliest lighthouses, the Vippefyr, constructed in the 15th century. A reconstruction of the lighthouse is located to the north of the town of Skagen.

The desertification that hit the area in the 18th and 19th centuries led to the abandonment of the old parish church to the migrating sands — the famous Buried Church, Den tilsandende Kirke. The tower of the church remains protruding from the dunes, as it was left as a sea marker when the church was abandoned at the close of the 18th century.

In central Skagen there is a teddy bear museum called Skagen Bamsemuseum.

We also went and saw Råbjerg Mile, where the only two significant migratory dunes exist today. An amazing sight to see.

Thanks Anne for showing me Skagen and Grenen. We survived Ålbæk with their biting flies.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

CHILI MAC

One can say that if you take spaghetti and chili con carne, mix it together, you will get the famous Chili Mac.  A dish that my family and I enjoyed during the winter and summer days.  Well maybe not so much during the summer.  Houston's heat was horrendous back in the days.  We did not have central air, just fans and open windows.  As a teen, I spent my summers taking cold showers and sticking my head in the freezer to cool off.

 

The Chili Mac is a dish that is so easy to make and a meal that even a kid would like.
















Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef / 453.6 grams
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can tomatoes with green chile, undrained
1 can pureed tomatoes
3/4 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
1 packet taco seasoning mix, or you can do your own HOMEMADE recipe (see below)
1 cup grated cheese, optional of what you like

Taco seasoning mix:

1 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt

Brown the ground beef with the bell pepper, onion, and garlic in a large saucepan for 8 to 10 minutes over medium heat.  Cook until the beef is no longer pink.  Break the beef into crumbles and pout off the drippings.  Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, macaroni, and taco seasoning, and add 3/4 cup water, maybe a little more if it seems too dry.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer covered for 15 minutes or until the macaroni is done.  Remove the pan from the heat and season to taste.  Top with the grated cheese if desired.

This serves about 4 for normal people, but for our family, it serves 2.









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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tortilla Soup

The quick and easy Tex-Mex version of this Mexican classic is made with Rotel tomatoes and crispy tortilla chips. Made with abundant garlic, it's not only delicious, it's the cure for the common cold. But, as we all know, the only way to come across Rotel tomatoes here in Denmark is to either order on-line or find your nearest American Store. The nearest we came across was in Malmø, Sweden. So, I substituted with putting chunks of jalepeno... but you can just use the canned tomatoes with chilis. No problemo.
This dish serves 6 to 8.





Ingredients:

1 whole chicken

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium onions, chopped

1 medium carrots, sliced or chopped. I prefer mine sliced and then cut in half.

3 medium potatoes.

1 tsp. oregano

1 bayleaf

One can of tomatoes. It does not have to be with chilis, but we prefer to have a little spice to it so I add one jalepeno.


Fun stuff to garnish your soup with:

Avocado's, sliced

1/2 cup chopped cilantro (coriander)

2 limes, quartered

1 fresh jalepeno, minced

Large bowl of tortilla chips


Split the chicken in half and rinse well. Place the chicken in a soup pot with 8 cups water, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, until the chicken is completely cooked. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool.

Remove any skin or bones from the stock. Add the garlic, onion, celery, carrots, potatoes, oregano, can of tomatoes with chilis, and bayleaf. Return to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until all the vegetables are well done. When the soup is nearly ready, cut up some of the chicken meat into bite-size pieces, removing all skin and gristle.

To serve, bring the soup to the table and present it with a plate of chicken meat, the garnishes, and the bowl of chips. Each diner should crush some tortilla chips into a soup bowl, add chicken and condiments, and then ladle the soup over the top.
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Monday, July 5, 2010

Angry Co-Workers

I can't understand why it's so important that I "hygger sammen", or socialize together during my breaks with my co-workers. Why is it a problem for everyone that I sit alone, read my magazine, and eat in silence?

I am a very quiet person. I may have this dark and brooding look to me, but I am actually happy inside. AND, as I recall, the last time I socialized with my co-workers, boss included, they all thought I was a huge freaking weirdo cause I was eating an avocado, tortilla sandwhich and reading the latest FANGORIA magazine that had a putrified zombie on the front cover.

So with this "hygger sammen" being brought up to me by my boss, and him telling me with pouty lips that they all hate seeing me eat alone, I will have to start working the early shift, 6 am til 2 pm. He says that I will have a better relationship with the girls.

Better relationship?



See the skeleton above? This skeleton caused a raucous the last day of school. The reason for it was because MJ and I decided to pull a prank on THE GIRLS. I figured since it was going to be the last day of school and MJ's last day to work with us, I should bring out Mads, the human skeleton, and place it in front of the window less doors. (These doors are the first to be opened and the first thing that the girls would see. )

It was positioned in the right spot. The plan was set.

I come in the next day to sour faces and doors slamming. Even the boss was upset and gave me a long hard look. The last day of school and not even a good bye, have a good weekend, hug and love you farewell.

Interesting come August when I am supposed to start early because I am expected to socialize and become better friends.
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It happened

My husband says that the next step to integrating in Denmark, after making pork meatballs (frikadeller) by heart, is wearing socks with sandals... and you know what... I would always tell him that I WOULD NEVER BREAK DOWN and do that.                                                        I SWORE TO IT!!!!

Hmmmm...

well....




What can I say?  They were so comfortable. 







Denmark, you will never get me to liking herring.  NEVER!!!!!
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Copenhagen Zoo


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