Friday, October 31, 2014

Hutchoween

Resident Evil meets 28 Days Later; walking through empty Fred Hutch corridors in late October is slightly disturbing and spine-chillingly exciting at the same time.


Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen,
Voices whisper in the trees, Tonight is Halloween!
- Dexter Kozen

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Home alone

Mother is on her way back to Sweden and my little place is suddenly all empty and quiet. Now what?

Answer: pedal to the metal; work, work, work. Seven weeks from now I'll be the one flying across the time zones, and I have a ton of deadlines to meet until then. I have a feeling December will be coming up pretty fast...

See you in a bit, mummy dearest!


(Photo from Fan Tan Alley, Canada's narrowest street.)

Friday, October 24, 2014

The October issue

Lo and behold! My first two articles for Fred Hutch's electronic newsletter Science Spotlight.

Mixed signals: The liver's perspective
Age is just a number

This is so much fun! I'm already looking forward to writing up my next two stories. If you have any constructive feedback, please feel free to share it with me; I'm doing this to learn, after all.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A place to grow old

Swedes, help me out here; this is not a very good name for chocolate covered raisins, is it?


Best ever! I think not, Canada.

On the other hand, The Great White North is apparently a place where one can happily go to retire, resting safe in the knowledge that there is Bridge Mixture to be had. And before you ask: yes, they have Bassett's Liquorice Allsorts too (and plenty of it!) - it is the Commonwealth after all.

Rendezvous in, let's say, 40 years?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Double, triple, quadruple V

V for Vancouver and Victoria - for visa and victory. I'm back from my exile in Canada, and what a great intermission it was! The weather was perhaps not the jolliest during the Vancouver visit, but mum and I were quite content with the single somewhat sunny day that allowed us to explore the city by foot after my interview at the American consulate. The other days were of the more drizzly kind, forcing us to sit at various caf├ęs, restaurants and bars in cozy Gastown, sipping on coffee, wine and cocktails, reading books, writing postcards and solving crossword puzzles. Life was hard, but we pulled through.

An inukshuk in the city's West End, off English Bay.


Steel and glass, glass and steel. (And boats.) Very Vancouver.


Next, we set sail for Victoria, British Columbia's lovely state capital on Vancouver Island, where the entire Frost family spent a couple of days last summer. This time, mum and I teamed up with my cousin, aunt and grandmother, and went sightseeing all over the place by means of feet, double-decker bus and rental car. Some attractions were revisited, others were new; high tea was ingested and vistas were viewed. A certain amount of confusion was ever-present and patiently endured (most of the time).

Colorful houseboats! Makes this Seattleite feel quite at home.



Butchart Gardens, again; almost as colorful in fall as in summer. The sweets equally filling.



The beautiful veranda where we indulged in the goodies; not too different from that of my parents' house, in hue and atmosphere.
  
Onwards! Through the greenery.


An enchanting cove, hidden behind the Japanese garden.


From Butchart we drove on to University of Victoria, where my cousin is currently studying. She showed us around campus, and the general impression was: lots of trees and lots of rather awkward deer.


Close to UVic is Mount Tolmie, an excellent spot for students to park. Great view, nonetheless!



Disneyland? Nope, just the British Columbia Parliament Buildings twinkling prettily during my last morning walk.


This somewhat spontaneous vacation had to end eventually, and seeing as my passport had been successfully returned to me on Friday there were sadly no more excuses. I hopped on the Victoria Clipper back to the US this afternoon, while the rest of the gang will keep exploring the island for a few more days. I wish I could stay too, but alas! Work is calling.

Beware, however, because on Friday, mum and grandma will make Seattle shake...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Vancouver update

Application approved! Celebrations are in order. A sip of glacier water, perhaps?


Bye for now, from the Olympic cauldron.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

O Canada!

After a couple of months of fruitless efforts to schedule an appointment at the US consulate in Vancouver to renew my visa, I suddenly got a break last Friday. Out of nowhere, a slot had opened up at 7 am on Tuesday morning. I dropped everything I had planned and immediately started making arrangements for a week-long stay in British Columbia, and thanks to helpful colleagues I managed to organize all my responsibilities to make it work (I hope so, at least). I definitely owe a favor or two, but it's certainly worth it to get my visa extended.

I've wanted to explore Vancouver basically since moving to Seattle, especially knowing that the train ride up is quite spectacular; mum and I are therefore rather excited about boarding the train early tomorrow morning. We'll spend a few days in the city and then head down to Victoria on Vancouver Island to see my cousin, who is doing an exchange year at the university there. What's even more exciting is that my aunt and grandmother will meet us there too. Fantastic!

The only thing that worries me is the actual interview at the consulate, but I've hopefully got all my papers in order so that I can get my passport back in time to head home to Seattle next Sunday. I ask you: cross your fingers and hold your thumbs... (It couldn't hurt, could it?)


See you on the other side!

(Image from www.canadaflagshop.com)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Hi mom!

Guess who's coming to town tomorrow? Mother Frost, that's who! If you don't know her, a quick Google search rendered the following images:

Mother Frost #1. A cheery lady! Not sure what's going on with the beater there, but I dig the headpiece. Swing it, momma!


Mother Frost #2. Um... Mom? I don't like tar. I'm not sure if... I mean... You know what, I think I'll just go now.


Welcome, mamma! Seattle is anxious to see you again.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Fall favorites

When I eventually leave this country there are some things I've gotten used to which will be very hard to live without. These guys, for instance:


Folks, meet Delicata and Corny.

This land offers a wide range of nutritious and delicious winter squash varieties, but the stripey darling above is definitely my favorite. There's no need to peel off the skin; it't not hard or thick as on a butternut. Just wash it thorougly, cut it open, remove the seeds and bake it in the oven, either alone or with some yam, onions and garlic, for instance. Or put it in a soup. Or in a curry! The important thing is that you enjoy it. (And you will.)

As for the sweet corn, I'm of course aware that stores and farmers' markets in Sweden offer these babies as well, but it's not quite the same. Here, they basically throw organic, locally produced maize of all kinds and colors at you for no money at all during late summer and early fall. Currently, my number one mode of preparation is simply husking them, removing the kernels with a sharp knife and baking them in the oven, after adding some olive oil and spices. Then what? Add them to any dish of your choice, or just eat them as they are.

Odds are this is my last fall over here, so there is no holding back... More squash! More corn! More! MORE!