Journal

Rob is coming to Iceland.

I’m a happy, happy camper. He’ll be here on November 11th and will stay until November 30th. We arranged that yesterday, but I was on set all day so couldn’t tell you till now.

Too short

I clearly need to find a way to spend more than two days up here. I woke up around nine a.m. because I was rested. The house is very quiet; the only sound I can hear is the sound of the waterfall. I wrote for a little. Bernd made apple pancakes, which were delicious and beautiful. We decided to go for another walk before heading to the workshop.

There’s another waterfall that you can just see as a dark spot in the first photo, but we walked up till we were parallel with it. Later in the winter these rivers and waterfalls will be covered over with ice and snow so there won’t be any sound at all.

I flew home (a forty-five minute flight to the local Reykjavik airport) and walked home from the airport. It was about a half-hour walk, with the northern lights blazing overhead. When I got home, I heated up some fish and moss soup that I’d made on Friday and sat in my living room, with the lights off, watching the northern lights.

A weekend at Bernd Ogrodnik’s

Bernd is a puppeteer that I know from the States who lives in Iceland. He is a really phenomenal puppeteer and an all-round great guy. I went up to northern Iceland to spend the weekend with his family. They live forty minutes outside of Akureyri in a remote valley.

That’s his house in the lower right corner. The two other buildings are also part of the farm that he lives on, though he’s hoping to convert the larger one to a film studio. On the left of the picture is a waterfall, but it’s a little blurry in this photo.

We spent most of the time talking and going on walks, though we did play with puppets some as well. I didn’t take my camera into the workshop, like an idiot, but I did remember to take it on walks with me.

A glacier rests between the two mountains at the end of the valley. In the summer the ‘v’ is white surrounded by greens (I’ve seen photos) but in the winter it’s hard to distinguish the glacier from the snow.

The whole time I was there the sky and the mountains played games with shifting whites. Sometimes the snow was white, or blue or pink.

Rob!

Pat just forwarded two photos of Rob that a friend of his, Cliff Watson, took while he was visiting during harvest. Rob tells me that he’s shaved the beard off for his new passport photo.

This is my favorite. Cliff has somehow managed to make a cold, crowded, dark room look warm and romantic. But that might just be me…

New Coat!

Okay, after much delay, here is my new coat and hat. It’s hard to see the details, sorry, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that it’s fabulous.

Here’s a close up of the collar. Sorry that I have no face, this is what happens when you try to take a picture of extremely pale skin in sunlight. I vanish.

Vote

I ought to apologize, I suppose, for introducing my political views into what has been a travelogue up to this point. We watched the last of the presidential debates last night (Kahlua taped it for us.) which was very exciting, even though we’ve all voted at this point. Then, on the way in to work this morning, they were interviewing this American woman on the radio. It was very distressing because her sole reason for disliking Kerry was that she didn’t know anything about him. If she had disagreed with his politics I would have been fine, but it horrified me that she had made no effort to learn anything about him.

So. Here, I’m providing information. And just to be fair, here’s the link to Bush‘s website too. I’m not putting a banner up for him because I voted for Kerry.

And just to amuse you, here’s a site called Beta Vote. Its premise? What if the whole world could vote.

Soccer All Day, Everyday

We’ve been playing soccer for days now. There’s very little for me to do because soccer is not played with the hands. Mostly I’ve just been hanging out on set and getting pillows or carts for the puppeteers. Whee. Fairly dull for me, but better than the days when we all sit in the dressing room waiting for a shot.

The thing that we’ve been amusing ourselves with lately is this website. We’ve been uploading pictures of the puppets and cast members to give them new hairstyle. Hours of amusement. If you want the password and user id for the characters so you can play too, email me. I don’t feel comfortable posting them here.

Two Months

I also forgot to mention that I’ve been out here for two months now. Time flies and drags.

Snow pictures

I meant to post these yesterday, but I left the cable for my camera back at the apartment. This is the view from living room window yesterday morning.

And the view from the lunchroom at work in the evening.

And the Angles Sing

Earlier I referred to the skies opening and the angles coming out to sing. What do angles sound like? Exactly what you’d expect. The sound of angles is produced by high winds blowing across the open ends of pipes causing a wailing, moaning skirl of sound. One refers to this as “angles singing” because the it requires the wind to blow at the right angle to make the appropriate pitches. I hope everyone feels edified now.

If you listen closely, you can hear the unearthly sound of a chorus of angles, like a haunting and slightly demented organ.

Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd

Last night I went to the opera with Sigga and Kahlua to see Sweeney Todd. In Icelandic. Fortunately it is one of the Broadway shows that I have memorized, so I didn’t have any trouble following it. The set was gorgeous and made good use of the space, but the staging was frequently overwrought. The voices were really strong, with one or two exceptions, but the acting was about what you’d expect in an opera. Sadly, Sweeny Todd requires stronger acting skills, or at least I’ve seen better productions.

Snow

I was walking down to the store to pick up some milk for my cereal tomorrow and the wind was snatching at me as I walked. It pushed me around with such force, that I almost didn’t notice the tiny white flakes swirling about me. It’s the sort of snow that you can’t see inside, only when you are in it do the specks of white dance close enough to watch. I’m back home now, and the sun is streaming through my living room window, so I have to imagine that it’s really snowing.

OPB

I’ve just realized that I can listen to OPB streaming on the web. The sky has opened and angles have come out to sing Hosannahs. I did not realize how much I’ve mentioned NPR.

Games Night

Jonathan had planned on having a games night tonight at his place, but at the last minute had to cancel becasue he had to stay at work editing an episode. So, we just convened at my place instead.

We played Celebrity, which I had never played before. It works like this: The guests are divided into teams. Each player writes down the names of three to five celebrities (or famous books, or fictional characters) on slips of paper, folds the papers in half and puts them in a pot. In the first round, you can use words and movements to let people know what celebrity you have drawn from the pot. In the second round, you can use one word (and no other sounds) and movement. In the final round, you can only use movement. Your teammates try to guess, while you try to go through as many pieces of paper as you can in a minute.

It was a lot of fun. The last of my guests left about fifteen minutes ago, around 1 a.m. They wanted to help clean up, but my kitchen is so tiny that it’s just not a good plan to have more than one person working in there at a time. I used one of Grandma’s lines, “It’ll give me something to do after you’re gone.”

And I’d also like to add a special thank you to my mother who taught me the importance of having emergency party food on hand. People were impressed with the spread I pulled off with only an hours notice.