Robyn and Joel's Blog: Chronicling our Copenhagen Adventures

Yes, we're that interesting.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's starting...

Robyn and I just returned from an evening stroll. It's barely 6:30PM and the city is already alight with fireworks of all sorts. It's a lovely scene, actually: a low-hanging sky of thick clouds lit up with colorful explosions, the horizon full of descending, spiraling tendrils of fluorescent color and sparkle. Streams of perfectly-coiffed Danes in dark suits, thin ties, and ball gowns are pedaling their way to various parties. And naturally, this idyllic scene is punctuated by the occasional blast of a firework--no color, just noise--that sounds far too big and lethal to be legal.

Ahh, yes. New Year's celebrations have begun in Copenhagen.  

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Yep, there are, evidently, earthquakes in Denmark. Who knew?

Early in the morning on December 16--about 6:30AM or so--I was shaken out of bed by several strong tremors. Seasoned California earthquake veteran that I am, I knew right away that an earthquake had just rolled through our normally placid city. Immediately lucid and unfazed by the chaos unfolding around me, I valiantly leapt from bed to ensure that my bride was safe. Turns out that Robyn was actually "powdering her nose" the very moment it hit.

I now refer to it as "The Great Potty 'Quake '08". More info here.

There's even a Facebook group for quake survivors, as well as a place to buy commemorative t-shirts. I tend to wear large, in case anyone wants to help me heal.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Have a blessed Christmas!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Let there be light!

As a way of preparing for the onset of winter here in Denmark--in other words, lots and lots and lots of darkness--Robyn and I recently purchased a sun lamp. Hopefully, this (pricey!) contraption will lead to elevated spirits, a new-found abundance of energy, and more frequent and interesting blog entries all winter long. 

Here are some shots of Robyn enjoying an inaugural "light bath":

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Shout out to Mom and Dad!

I want to take this opportunity to give a shout out to my parents, Ron and Kathy,

who are currently the guardians to our doggies, Lola Mae and Bodhi.

Our dogs are precious to us and I miss them very much. But, as much as I want them to come over to Copenhagen, Joel and I have decided to keep our doggies with my parents because we know it is best for them. Bodhi and Lola Mae have a huge backyard to play in, a large house to rule, and plenty of lovely couches, pillows, and rugs on which to chew. My parents spoil them rotten. In fact, when we first arrived in Austin at 3am after driving from Carbondale, my parents greeted the doggies with the biggest box doggie treats I’ve ever seen.

Recently my parents experienced a long night. No, they didn’t stay up watching the election results… they roamed their neighborhood looking for Bodhi, who earlier decided he needed to visit a few nearby friends. Shiba Inus are not like other dogs who will come when you call them. Shibas are fiercely independent and love a good game of tag. And, apparently that is what my parents played – for hours – the other night. Finally, they gave up and went to bed, but left the latch to the backyard gate open in case Bodhi decided to return. And, like a good doggie, he did… around 3 in the morning. While my parents weren’t thrilled with Bodhi’s adventure, I think they should be pleased. Much like they did with their own children, the are helping to grow a puppy into an independent young dog who has the self-confidence to go explore, knowing that my parents will always leave the gate unlatched for when Bodhi wants to come home. And, clearly, he has a good home. You should be so proud!

Many thanks to my parents who take great care of my doggies… we miss you all!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Yes We Can!

Today is the day before the election that will determine the next president of the United States.
You would have to have lived under a rock for the past two years to not know the significance of tomorrow’s vote. If nothing else, we can all stop talking about the campaigns in just a few hours. As I mentioned in earlier posts, the Danes are watching the US Presidential election very closely. I think all of Europe is following the election. Europe is definitely pro-Obama. But, Europe doesn’t get a vote. But, what if they did?

The Economist Magazine has an interesting article that demonstrates who would win the election if the entire world had a vote. They go so far as to create a “world electoral college” to determine the winner. You can read the article at If the world voted, Obama would win with 9,115 votes to McCain’s 203. I find myself wondering what the rest of the world sees that we Americans do not. In other words, why is the race so close in the US while the rest of the world so clearly supports Obama? Now, when Joel and I began this blog we agreed that we wouldn’t use it for political purposes… the blog is just our musings about our daily lives. And I am not straying from this with purpose with my question… I am truly perplexed. Why does the rest of the world support Obama when roughly half of America supports McCain? Why/How is the US different from the rest of the world? And, should the opinion of the rest of the world factor in our decision-making process as we chose which candidate to support?

Regardless of who you support, I encourage you each to fight the lines, rain, or whatever else will get in your way and go vote. I sent my ballot last week and now all I can do is hope… because YES WE CAN!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Patrice and Kultur Natten

When I advise my students about graduate school there are two things I always recommend: go to the best school you get into and find an advisor you trust. I am very blessed to have Patrice Buzzanell as my advisor. And, yes, I did graduate, but like parents, advisors are advisors for life :)

I was fortunate enough to have Patrice visit CBS the second week of October. She attended several research presentations, taught two classes, and met all of my colleagues. She was, as you can imagine, a wonderful guest.

And, I had a great time showing her my new home town. As it turns out, Patrice's last night in Copenhagen was Kultur Natten (Culture Night). Kultur Natten is a city-wide celebration of culture. Museums, parks, government buildings, theatres, etc. stay open all night and people are out and about enjoying the city. We made the most of the night (although we did end our night around 1am). Here are a few pictures from Kulture Natten:

Joel and I took Patrice to one of our favorite resturants, Spiseloppen located in Christiania. The food is excellent and the decore traditional Danish. And, the entrance is up these steps...

After our dinner we went to the Royal Library where they hosted several musical performers. The Royal Library is called the "black diamond" because of its diamond shape and the black granite used to build it. The building is beautiful and fun to tour.

Patrice and I are looking at the 36 page Kulture Natten program, plotting our next move...

We decided to get some drinks (chilled pear cider from Sweden -- yum!) and walk ALL OVER the city... just soaking up the fun!

Patrice did find the Museum Erotica... but decided not to take the tour...

It was a great night and a great visit! Thanks, Patrice for a wonderful week!

Here are a few more pictures of our night:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Rock the vote, baby!

A number of people have asked us about voting, so I thought I would take a picture of my absentee voter form. Joel and I voted in the presidential election using absentee voter forms from Texas, where we are registered. I sent in my form today.

It was, actually, a bit of trouble getting our absentee ballots. I never knew how hard it was for overseeas Americans to vote. But, we persevered and voted! Yea!

The election is a very big deal here in Denmark. A number of our friends are hosting all-night election watching parties, the American embassy is hosting several events, the Copenhagen Business School is hosting a lecture series about American politics, and the University of Copenhagen has a full 24 hours of events including back-to-back episodes of West Wing and streaming CNN. We are trying to decide if we are going to stay up all night to watch the election results. When else can we party with Danes and watch American elect a new president? More details in an upcoming post…

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Creepy Flour Dude

Whilst slapping together some solo dinner tonight (Robyn's in the States at a conference), I happened to notice this chap leering down at me from the back of a bag of flour (click on the photo for a disturbing close-up):

That's not a particularly comforting face. I don't want to know what this guy was doing right before this picture was taken. Nor do I want to know what he put in my flour.

I'm guessing it wasn't an extra helpin' of TLC.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fuzzy House Guest

We currently have a fuzzy house guest staying with us for a few weeks while his owners are traveling. His name is Sammy, and he's a Bijon Frise.

Initially, Sammy was a bit uncertain about his temporary residence. He seems to have a fairly nervous disposition by nature, and being plopped into some strange apartment with two strange people proved to be a bit unsettling for him. But that lasted all of about twenty-four hours. As the pictures below indicate, Sammy is now quite relaxed--and he has, indeed, very much made himself at home! In fact, when we go to bed at night, Sammy curls up at the foot of our bed and drifts off instantly (he sleeps roughly tweny-two hours a day). By morning, however, Sammy has, without fail, slithered his way to the top of the bed and has wedged himself between us, like a little fuzzy layer of Sammy mayonnaise in a Robyn and Joel sandwich.

We're going to miss Sammy when he goes home this Sunday.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

Are you ready for some football?

Now that it is autumn, it is time for FOOTBALL! We don’t get much football here… American football, that is. We now have a Sunday ritual that helps us get our football fix: nearly every Sunday after we return from church and have lunch, we crawl into bed and watch the ESPN college football highlights on our computer (I usually fall asleep before the highlights are over, but isn’t that what you are supposed to do… fall asleep watching football?). Later in the evening our local Danish television channel airs two pro-football games.

And we often get to watch the Dallas Cowboys!!!

We love to watch, in part, because the Danish commentators are hilarious. And, because they have to “fill” all the time normally used for commercials, we get to see the commentators a lot.

And, just in case you were wondering, yes, they eat (and occasionally choke) on the popcorn!

As I watch the football game and realize I now understand a bit more of the commentators’ dialogue, I recall the joy I had when we discovered the football program last year – a little something to ease my homesick heart. But, now, a year later, I don’t feel joy as much as I feel comfort – our old friends are back. And, I don’t need them to remind me of what I am missing at home… they now remind me that I am home. Great to see you guys! Enjoy the popcorn.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Happy Autumn!

Welcome to Autumn! We are a day or two late, but that’s okay. Tuesday morning I woke up knowing that this was going to be the last day this year that there would be more hours of daylight than darkness… the darkness is coming! Okay, so that may be a bit dramatic, but trust me, it gets dark here in the winter.

In the mean time, we are doing everything we can to enjoy autumn. The weather is cooler: you definitely need a jacket and maybe even a scarf and gloves. The leaves are turning and the color is beautiful. School is in full swing and there is an abundance of apples in the markets! And, speaking of markets, we are trying something new this autumn… we signed up to have produce delivered to our flat once a week.

And, this isn’t any old produce. This is produce from Aarstiderne (“seasons” in Danish), an all organic farm here in Denmark. Once a week they deliver a box of food to our door.
They have a lot of different types of “boxes” – we ordered the basic box. You can get the “adventurous box” that specializes in traditional Danish veggies, or boxes with fruit (from fair-trade and organic partner farmers in tropical locations), grain (from organic bakers), and meat (all hormone-free, free-range, etc.).

For now we will stick with the basic box, but we may add fruit this winter (we currently get local fruit from our market). I like this program for several reasons: First, we support a great organization that supplies organic produce to local communities and farms in environmentally friendly ways. Second, because we don’t pick what comes in the box each week, we are motivated to learn how to cook and try new veggies. This is what came in our box this week.
That is celery root in the back – very common and popular her in Denmark.

Finally, I love the idea that someone else has to carry the produce up our three flights of stairs!

So, regardless of what you are eating or how warm your weather,
Happy Autumn!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Let There Be Sun!

Despite its well-deserved reputation as "the place where the sun goes to die" (as my brother-in-law aptly put it after visiting last December), Copenhagen does, indeed, enjoy a fair bit of sun (note the intentional ambiguity of "a fair bit"). And when it's sunny, Copenhagen is probably as beautiful a city as you'll find anywhere. Today was one of the those days. Here is proof that the sun does occasionally find its way to Copenhagen:

This last shot has nothing to do with the sun (but it does have to do with the moon. Heeey--o!!!).

This was an eye-catching cover in a children's bookstore we wandered by:

Perhaps it's a Danish take on one of these children's classics:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Two Birthdays

Happy birthday, Mom (today) and Kelly (tomorrow)!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Robyn and Joel's 2008 Summer Tour Extravaganza: Phase 2

After leaving London, our 2008 Summer Tour Extravaganza made its way to Carlsbad, CA. The first Big Event of our Carlsbad stop was my parents' 40th wedding anniversary celebration. It's not often one gets to celebrate 40 years of (mostly) blissful marriage! Family members flew in from various parts of the country to be part of the celebration. Needless to say, a great time was had by all. Then again, when you throw a bunch of boisterous and sarcastic people into a limo and then take these people on an extended wine-tasting expedition in Temecula, there's sure to be some fun. And fun there was. (Alright, enough with the Yoda-like sentence structures).

The pictures provide their own vivid narrative--much better than any reconstruction I can muster--so I'll simply direct your attention here:

Our second Big Event in Carlsbad was another celebration. Robyn and I hosted a cookout at my parents' home in honor of several notable accomplishments, including our friend Matt's proposal to his lovely partner, Ashley, and our friend Garrett's graduation from Purdue with a PhD in organic chemistry.

The highlight of the gathering was a special VIP showing of our friend Courtney's short film, "Cute Couple". Honestly assessing a friend's art is always a dicey affair. Most of us have had friends who earnestly fancied themselves Serious Artists--but whose work, alas, was destined to be the "before" example in a "Ten Steps to Becoming a Better Artist" primer rather than hung on a wall in the Louvre. (I can be a bit snarky here since I include myself in this category, wisely having allowed my artistic pretensions to die a quiet and (somewhat) dignified death with a barely-completed art minor while an undergraduate at UC Davis). Courtney is the real deal, however. Her film has now won two Audience Choice awards at prestigious films festivals in Jackson Hole and Los Angeles, so it's not just her friends saying nice things about her. It will be exciting to see what happens next.

Speaking of visual treats, another highlight was our friend Matt suddenly removing his shirt for no apparent reason while playing Frisbee. Perhaps he simply wanted to remind us all just how lucky Ashley really is.

Mission accomplished, pal.

Pics (including Matt's yoga-toned torso) here:

Monday, August 11, 2008

Robyn and Joel's 2008 Summer Tour Extravaganza: Phase 1

We're a bit behind on our blogging. Sorry. Don't forget, dear readers: we're busy and important people who lead glamorous and exciting international lives. Sometimes we forget to put down the champagne bottle long enough to get caught up.

So, to get caught up:

Robyn and Joel's Summer Tour Extravaganza 2008 kicked off with a bang in London.

Robyn attended a conference; I tagged along, ever the dutiful husband, intending to roam the streets and explore the city. I did just that. And I enjoyed every minute of it. It was my first chance to really see London (aside from the parts of the airport and the bus terminal I passed through during two previous trips to Oxford). Naturally, I hit the big tourist spots: Big Ben, Parliament, London Bridge, Kew Garden, the Tate Museum of Modern Art, etc. Yes, they were all impressive. And yes, the Tube is face-meltingly hot in the summer (it was unseasonably warm during our visit). Soaking up body odors all and sundry while enjoying the luxuries of public transportation is part of "going local", I suppose. (I'm quite sure I made my own special contribution to this B.O. potpourri). But when I wasn't inhaling local fragrances, my favorite pastime was to simply duck into whichever pub I happened to be strolling by at that moment and grab myself a pint and some grease-laden pub grub. Robyn and I are great fans of Pub Culture. I could eat nothing but fish 'n chips and Shepherd's Pie and die a happy (and probably young) man.

Special thanks goes to our friend Rachel, who graciously allowed us to stay with her in her lovely townhouse during our visit. In addition to the pleasure of her company, this arrangement provided us with a comfortable launching pad from whence we could enact our London adventures.

Pictures here, for the interested:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Birthday in London

Happy (day after your) birthday, Robyn!

Here are some paparazzi pics of the birthday girl in London, yesterday and today:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Small Victories

This is a picture of luggage.

Why am I posting a boring picture of beaten-up luggage? Because this is no ordinary luggage. No, this luggage is, uncharacteristically, packed and ready to go one full day before it begins its trek to London, California, and Texas. Normally this luggage is empty right now; it waits expectantly for the harried piles of things its owners cram into it before rushing out the door to make their flight. However, for once this luggage is packed and closed more than seventeen hours ahead of its departure time.

It is a special day, indeed. Way to go, luggage!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Well, after another night of jazz in Copenhagen, we headed to Amsterdam for 6 days (this is us on the plane, and way too close!).

We were in town so I could attend the European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS) annual conference. The conference was a wonderful opportunity for me to meet other organizational scholars and receive great feedback on my research project. The conference was 3 days, which left us a bit of time to explore the city...

And, explore the city we did! We love Amsterdam. The city is beautiful, even in the rain and cloudy sky. The architecture makes you feel like you are stepping back in time.We hit most of the tourist spots including Anne Frank's House and Museum and the Van Gogh Museum. Both were very impressive, but for different reasons.

As you can expect, the Anne Frank Museum is very moving. I spent a lot of time in the house, reading the excerpts from her diary, and just trying to imagine the range of emotions she felt while hiding. At the end of the exhibits and the house tour is another exhibit on human rights and freedom. It was very sobering to discover that the very horror Anne Frank and her family experienced continue in contemporary times. While I may have left the Anne Frank House and Museum, it has not left me, and perhaps, that is a good thing. This is a must see for everyone who travels to Amsterdam.

Another must-see is the Van Gogh museum. It was a well-designed exhibit, which told a wonderful narrative of not only his art but his life.

The museum was crowded, but still doable and very enjoyable. Like the Anne Frank House, you feel like you are taking a step back into history while looking at his art, but in a very different way. Again, worth fighting the crowds for a look.Perhaps our favorite part of our trip was just walking around the small side-streets and crossing the canal bridges. Amsterdam is a great walking city.

Here are just a few (trust me, there are lots more if you are interested!) pictures from our trip . Enjoy!