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4 posts from September 2006

September 16, 2006

Tjarnarsprettur

Saturday was the day for the "Pond Sprint", apparently "Reykjavik's only downtown cycling race".  It was a gorgeous day and the perfect time to practice, what else, riding our bike!

Img_0441 Caitlin is more of a scooter afficianado, but Kelsey is quite into her bike, and more importantly, showing off her My Little Pony helmet.  Believe it or not, she took a fairly jarring fall between her two photo-ops, but came through relatively unscathed and hopped back on the bike.  Since we know one of the bikers, the current Political counselor at the Embassy, we felt even more inclined to attend.

The course literally went in a square (with rounded edges) around the pond.  Even far back from the roped off corners, the intensity of the bikers could be felt as they whooshed by at incredible speeds without a wobble.  The picture above shows the lead group in action, as they prepare to cross over the bridge.  The race was fairly short, only 15 laps, but still gave us more insight into the sport and was a unique and fun way to spend an afternoon downtown.

Peter's colleague is rider second from the left in the light blue...

September 14, 2006

The Partay

And it was a party!  Caitlin and 20 of her nearest and dearest played, frolicked and romped for two hours.  They stuffed themselves with pizza, played a little more and then gorged on cake.  Let's just say, a good thing I decided to make those extra cupcakes, as otherwise, it just would not have been enough.  I was also surprised by the popularity of the cake given that I discovered the night before....

There are NO 'white' or vanilla cake mixes in Iceland!  I usually use the standard white Betty Crocker mix as I live in fear that there are others out there like Pete who will only eat chocolate cake as a last resort.  I have a hard time understanding this as I am completely the opposite.

Nonetheless, I was out of white cake mix and with no commissary, headed to the local market.  Then I went to the next one and the next one and so on....to find no white cake mixes whatsoever!  At first I thought they were just out to get me, then I began to realize probably just the grocery stores conspiring against the foreigners, much like the ladies at grocery store in Caracas who told me it was "muy peligroso" for me to grind my own coffee.  Don't get me started on that one!

Anyway, I found this "marble-cake" mix and realized that I could use that as the chocolate portion was not huge and the vanilla portion should be adequate for a regular size cake.  I mentioned my bizarre afternoon to my friend and Iceland mentor, Berta and she informed me that up until recently, even marble cake mixes could not be found!  Apparently, chocolate represents birthdays and one simply doesn't have anything but a chocolate cake for their birthday.  So, really, Iceland is the place for me in that regard!

Oh, and I won't tell you that I paid $7.13 for said cake mix, because you might call me nuts...but this  is Iceland, and if you need white cake mix and didn't think to order from Netgrocer at least 4 weeks beforehand, you are, well, out of luck. 

So, in the end, the white cake and fun, was had by all...enjoy the pictures!

Commitment

Img_0413_3 or a reason to be committed?  Yes, once again I have gone over the edge with regards to the birthday cake.  As some of you may know, today is Caitlin's birthday party for her friends. I figured since it is the last year possible, why not do it at Ævintýraland?  In theory, it is pricey, but it is a nice, safe indoor play area which will be great on a  (shocking!)  rainy day like today.  I went back and forth on the whole cake issue and even thought about buying one locally.  However, they have never heard of butter cream frosting and they layer the cakes with (gasp) fruit or cream in between.  Given the birthday girl's penchant for plain foods, this would not go over well.

Oh, I did mention I would also pay $60 or so for said simple local birthday cake.  Yes, a small cake that feeds 8 people runs about $30, so do the math for 20 kids plus parents!  So, the cake did come out okay and I have to say of all the Wilton cakes I have made, this was by far the easiest.  I ended up skipping the flowers despite assuring Kelsey yesterday that there would be vines with flowers.  I just could not get the consistency right, and the flower shape just didn't happen.  Given the small likelihood any of the other kids have even seen what the cake is supposed to look like, I am not going to stress.

So, enjoy the pic, let's hope it is tasty, too and check back later for more party pics!  If you check the Flickr badge, there is another new picture of the hand-made/stamped invitations....and, yes, Cait did all of the coloring!

 

September 02, 2006

Matt Dissed My Advice, but

Img_0920 Marisa chowed down on the pylsur Pete grilled up for her.

We had a night out tonight (Yea!), courtesy of our friend Ron, who hosted the party and our babysitter, Hera, who watched our progeny.  Ron apparently has quite a bit of contact with newcomers to Reykjavik, and being the thoughtful person that he is, invited some of those visitors to his party tonight.

Not long after we arrived, Matt Dillon and his entourage (agents?) arrived.  Yep, Matt of 20+ movies showed up and chatted with the 10 or so partygoers already there.  Dressed casually in a long sleeve t-shirt and jeans, one would not have known he was famous if not for the not-unrecognizable face. He was in town for the Reykjavik Film Festival and where else to hang out on a Saturday night but an Embassy party?

After a while, Matt and his friends decided after a while to head off for dinner, probably to Vid Tjornid.  I seconded the recommendation for Grillhusid, but he decided "I don't really want fish and chips".  However, I do recommend a visit there for all, as Grillhusid does not serve your your average fish and chips. 

Not long after Matt left, we were introduced to Harris Goldberg, producer and director of several movies, including the 20-something guy favorite "Deuce Bigalow". Okay, we think that is his name.  We always seem to have party-deafness during the introductions.  Pete and I both remember being introduced to someone named Harris, so, well, let's go with that for now.  The funny thing is that I met him first and then when I introduced Pete, he swore he already knew him.  What is this with celebrities 'knowing us'?

Harris was also in town for the Reykjavik Film Festival, just like Matt and Marisa.  He was very interested in what brought us to Iceland and chatted with us for quite a while.   The entire Foreign Service concept intrigued him and he had many questions for us about the FS and living in Iceland.  We gave him all of the tourist advice we could dish out; what to do, what to avoid.  Given he has a driver and an Escalade at his service, I think it is safe to say he will enjoy his stay here. 

So, Marisa and her boyfriend (musician?) popped in a little while later.  Pete was manning the grill and Ron brought her out on the balcony to get a beer.  He then introduced Pete and she shook his hand and said, "Hi, Marisa", as though he might not have guessed her identity.  She was quite keen on trying an Icelandic hot dog and dug in when they were grilled to go.  Oh, and did I mention I need the name of her diet?  I realize she is several inches shorter than me and has quite a tiny frame to begin with, but really had no idea just how teeny she is!

After the delivery of the pylsur (hot dogs) it was time for us to jet off.  We arrived home to find the kids in bed and asleep!  And, of course, I absconded with the laptop to once again tell my tale of my life meeting the big fish in this very small pond...

P.S.  Cait knows Matt Dillon as the "bad guy" from Herbie Fully Loaded.  She was very excited til she saw the picture of me and then said, "I don't think that looks like him at all!"...kids!