001.December 31

London, UK


Chicago O'Hare, IL

I continue to wait for my red-eye flight, reading "Jeeves in the Morning", now taking a breather with eyedrops blocking view and hopefully saving vision for tomorrow.  I have been here since 18:45...it is now 22:45.  I caught an early flight from MPLS after taking off work early.  Had dinner in Calhoun Square at a Thai restaurant and took a walk on the frozen Lake Harriet.  Again, I packed more than perhaps I should've.  It's heavier than I enjoy carrying, but at least I won't run out.  Boarding time. 

I arrived at Kate's flat at 2pm and after hanging up my clothes and sorting through recipes for stuffed mushrooms we went to Sainsbury's, picked out £64  worth of food and got back to teh flat to cook.  I took a shower to refresh and get ready for the party while Kate started cooking. Then we got to work wholeheartedly on our dishes. Unfortunately for me, we also started drinking vodka martinis wholeheartedly, and my lasting power was greatly diminished after the many hours on a plane with no sleep whatsoever crossing the Atlantic.  Paola arrived at 19:00 and cut carrots.  She is working as a pr person for something to do with the film industry. Caroline came with her fiance, and I was able to give the 3 women their presents, Quality Chick t-shirts from the Decorah Hatchery in bright colors. I showed off all my stuffed mushrooms and other savoury dishes, and had a brilliant time. We also moved to a party upstairs in Kate's flat, and Malcolm showed up. I started to fade quickly, and ended up in bed with all the guests' jackets and my video camera. While I slept, Caroline and Paola came and videotaped me sleeping and talking in my sleep to them. I can not find this tape, and think I probably taped over it accidently. I slept until the afternoon of the next day, and regret I did not sleep on the plane. 


Barcelona, Spain

We took a train to Barcelona, got a pension in the latin quarter, and spent the night out on the town in several bars toasting the New Year in. We had dinner at a sushi place with a conveyor belt and sushi circling us. Crowds of protesters and revelers passed below on the street most of the day.


Spring Grove, MN

We're holding a New Year's Eve Party at my house in Spring Grove this year. The Christmas tree is still up from our family's christmas parties. We have invited most of our local friends, and most are coming to ring in the new year. Rachel and I have spent the day "cleaning", though I have been watching "Amadeus" while setting up my stereo speakers and dilly dallying. So, she got us ready for the party. I did clean up for last weeks Chrstmas party at our house for both of our families, so maybe we are even now. She made all the food, except I made enough dough for 6 thin crust pizzas, letting them rise until the usual suspects showed up. We had 19 people here, and it was a wonderful way to ring in the new year. Some of us playing Modern Warfare 2, some played Euchre, and others played a game called Party Playoff that Jill gave us for Christmas last year.  Elyse was the star of the party, and facilitated all of our games and prizes that Rachel had printed out to give to the winners of each event. I wore Rachel's new sock monkey onesie and was ridiculed by everyone at the party until they just got used to it. I also used my new Swedish glass drinking horn, held inplace with the lanyard from our Belizean coconut monkey purse. I looked great, and felt so wonderful being the only one in pajamas at a new years party.


A very Festivus New Year to all of us. Sarah and Mark hosted the Seinfeld party on New Years, this year, instead of it's pre-Christmas date, because we were all too busy. I took home the bottle of vodka for winning the Feats of Strength, the annual leg wrestling competition that I usually lose to Tyler. He was taking care of his and Beth's new baby, so I got it all to myself. We played Cards Against Humanity with 16 people and then went home to bed.


Known forever as the day of the Pinnekjøtt Dinner Party, this day was very special for Rachel because of her month of planning and work with Heidi Eger preparing a rack of sheep ribs for dinner tonight. Here is a link to the video wherein she finishes her project, and we sit around a fire and eat braise the sheep before we eat them with Moulin Champagne: perfect. Her whole month she has made a video nearly every day, showcasing traditional Scandinavian preparations for Christmas.

I also sawed up a load of firewood while there was still light, and split them with an ax by the firelight and fed a beautiful fire. We had Jen, Scott, Claire and Landon stop by to enjoy some NA Sparkling Fruit Juice for the youth, Maryhill Riesling and then the Norwegian dinner Rachel and Heidi had created. The meat was about the most tasty thing I've ever had, and was similar to very lean burnt ends from a Texas BBQ, but with a richness that was very delectable.

It may be the first year in a great many that I didn't stay up until Midnight on Dec 31st, but Rachel did, as finished off the day editing her last video of the 2nd year of JuleKalendar.


As I lounge here on our red couch with Mauser, our half year old cat sitting on the backrest beside me, I am completely relaxed and very happy. We just finished watching "Asteroid City", and it was wonderful. I would and may watch it whenever I can throughout the rest of my life, and maybe, someday, I will understand it. It is Sunday, and I skipped out on church, but prepared a breakfast with two fresh eggs by our chicken Eloise on a bed of hash browns and tomato salsa cooked in italian sausage. It was fantastic, coupled with the third to last of our advent calendar whole bean coffees. Tonight, I will cook my 29 inch Lake Trout, which now weights about the same as my cat. Mauser is waiting patiently for the bathroom door to open, as the automatic feeder has anounced that his meal has been served "Food Time Mauser, come and get it, come and get it, Kitty." He just laided on my chest while I type, and is still waiting patiently for the forgotten meal.

There was an ice storm last night, so all of the vehicles are covered and will take a long time to clean off. We should have cleaned out a garage stall and placed this years newest addition to our auto fleet, a 2018 Subaru Outback, in the garage. It is full of perhaps our last load from my old house, which we rented out in mid-December for at least all of 2024. There is a lot to look forward to this year, including directing a play, "The American Dream", travelling to Florida for 2 weeks, and maybe other trips and adventures this summer. Rachel starts opera rehearsals soon at Luther, and will travel to work with me most days coming up. I think this coming year will be the best year yet.