Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Daily Jamie

December 16th
December 17th

Kalle Kamel

After Saturday's party, The Swede and I stayed at a hotel in the city. We slept in but got back to Kungsi before lunchtime to pick up Jambo from Mama and Papa Swede's. Driving home, we saw a big crowd and signs at the church: Christmas market! With hot dogs! As we drove closer we saw basically the one thing better than a Christmas market with hot dogs: A CAMEL! And not just any yucky old zoo camel. This one was coiffed to perfection, both humps sticking straight up, making him the proudest camel I've ever seen. Oh, and did I mention he was soft as the dickens? I had to force myself to stop petting him because I felt like his owner was giving me the stink eye, but really I could have stood there the rest of the day admiring that magnificent beast. Even today I can't stop thinking about him. Is it too late to add something to my Christmas list? 

Monday, December 15, 2014

An Investment In Morale

Big company Christmas party over the weekend, guys! The evening consisted of a pre-party at a nearby sport bar, then julbord and a show with a bunch of Sweden's most famous musicians and comedians. Everyone was in high spirits and the wine was flowing so it was a fantastic time. Our boss treated about twenty of us and I daresay it was worth it because the mood at the office today is one that's never been experienced before on a dark and rainy Monday.

Daily Jamie

December 13th
December 14th
December 15th

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Business Cas Fashion Show

Let's squeeze another fashion show into 2014, shall we? I wore this outfit so long ago, weeks and weeks, really, that I have no idea what I was thinking I should write when I photographed it. So there. Just a picture, no superficial introspection or back-story.
Here, however! Okay, so The Swede found this holiday sweater and decided we should invite the office to dress up in ugly Christmas sweaters so that he'd have an excuse to buy it. Thing is, Sweden doesn't really have a lot to offer in the way of ugly Christmas sweaters so we had to change the event to Christmas-themed clothing. AAAAAAAnyway, on my hunt for the former I found this beauty (with elbow patches and everything!) and bought it just to wear whenever during the winter. When I wore it to work, though, everyone was like, "Um, Mara, the Christmas clothes day isn't till next week. Duh." Drama, guys. Big time. 
The only thing new to the fashion show here is the scarf, which I bought for ten bucks at a kiosk in the mall. I've been on the lookout for an accurate Burberry knockoff since 2003 when my college roommate got Burberry Brit perfume for Christmas and made our room smell amazing for the rest of my college career. When I saw this surprisingly-good quality one I said "Eureka!" and pulled out my credit card.
So here's the actual Christmas-themed outfit. Those tights are rough on the eyes, amiright? I'm gonna get on Pinterest right away and find some craft I can do with them since I will definitely not be wearing them again. The shirt, however, I will live in during the holidays.

Daily Jamie

December 11th
December 12th

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Daily Jamie


This package of donuts is called "police tray". Sometimes these Swedes just don't give a care whose feelings they may hurt.
UPDATE: The Swede just informed me that the word "bricka" means not only "tray" but "badge", which means that some super clever baker did a little wordplay. Cute!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Daily Jamie

December 6th
December 8th
December 9th

Exterior Decorating

One day at work a couple of weeks ago, Linda and I decided that she and her girls would come over this past Saturday and decorate gingerbread houses. We did something similar last year and it was so cozy we just had to do it again.
I had a huge advantage in that Jamie had absolutely no interest in helping me decorate, which meant that I was free to frost and candy that bad boy to my heart's content. Jamie was happy just to sit at the table with us ladies and eat candy. Linda made hot chocolate from scratch and we played Swedish kids' Christmas classics on Spotify and had a grand time. Plus everyone went home with a gingerbread house far too pretty to eat.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Daily Jamie

November 30th
December 1st

Traditiooon! Tradition! TRADITION!

This was a really special weekend because it marked the solidification of and hopefully beginning of a few traditions. First, on Saturday, we had our Second Annual Friendsgiving. Erin, Svante, Ossian, and Rio-in-utero joined us for turkey and all the trimmings the Saturday after Thanksgiving last year and this year we invited Shaena and Peter and their gang to join as well. There were a lot of little boys up in the place, but they were all so, so well behaved. Aside from Rio, they were all big enough to eat at their own kids' table with minimal supervision and we adults were able to enjoy our meal and play some games in relative peace. It was a blast and I can't wait to do it again next year.
The next morning I got dressed up and headed to church to sing in the Advent Sunday service. It was a really nice way to start the holiday season and I expect that it will become a seasonal event I'll look forward to year after year. While I was at church, The Swede and Jamie joined Mama and Papa Swede over at Ingvor and Rolands, where they watched home movies of their fishing vacations from the early nineties. I arrived at the tail end of it and it was pretty magical to see Sarianne the same age as Elin is now and a gangly Swede with the floppiest, blondest hockey hair you've ever seen. We had a long, late lunch at Golden Cave then went home and put up the Christmas tree. If every last-weekend-in-November is even half as fun and eventful as this one in the future I'll be a happy camper.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Daily Jamie


Today especially, I'm so thankful for big things like
  • My husband who makes me laugh every single day, never takes himself or life too seriously, is interested in and enthusiastic about so, so much, wants me to be happy, and knows what I'm thinking two weeks before I even do. Thank God I met him.
  • My child who is the most exciting thing that ever happened to me, who lets me experience everything again for the first time, surprises me constantly, loves to sing and dance as much as I do, and keeps me honest.
  • My family back in North America who keep in touch even though they know (through the blog) there's usually nothing exciting going on over here. The fact that my parents remarried and brought two new amazing people into my life. That my grandparents are still some of the healthiest, most active people I know. Also, related: the technology that allows us to communicate across all these miles.
  • My Swedish family. Fate could have paired me up with a great guy who with a lame family but I got really, really lucky to genuinely enjoy the company of every single one of these Swedes. 
  • Our health. Our bodies are working as they should and I try to always remember what a gift that is. 
  • My girlfriends, here and abroad. Every girl's gotta have 'em. They're the best.
  • My job. I have the best colleagues, and while I love the weekend as much as the next guy, I really like going to work in the morning. 
  • My home, which is the perfect size for my family and which is so full of love and warmth, and exists in a neighborhood that couldn't possibly be more fitting. Our home is the place I most like to be.
  • Jamie's teachers. They are truly our partners in raising this child and they're doing a great job.
  • This country, where I feel so taken care of. Hardly a day goes by that I don't stop and take a moment to appreciate all the things I don't have to worry about because I live here.
  • The sheer luck of having been born under the circumstances I was. 
  • A reliable vehicle and public transportation should it suddenly become unreliable. 
And slightly smaller things like
  •  The quality of TV these days! I'm stressed out by how much good stuff there is to watch.
  •  Singing in a choir. How did I not do it for so many years?
  •  Makeup. It's actually embarrassing how much joy it brings me.
  •  The fact that my kid has a good sense of humor.
  •  Blogs, because I love to write and they're my favorite reading material.
  •  Having things to look forward to like a party, a vacation, a holiday, a fun weekend plan or even just going home at the end of the day.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Daily Jamie

November 23rd
November 24th

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out

Remember in the beginning of A Christmas Story when everybody is stopping outside a department store (IN DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, INCIDENTALLY!) and checking out the window display? I got a major flashback to that scene yesterday morning when Sarianne and I took a walk around Stockholm city and came upon a crowd outside of NK checking out a half dozen incredibly well-thought-out and executed window displays.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Daily Jamie

No Steel Here

Well I just got done bawling my dang eyes out. See, Sarianne booked a hotel room here in Stockholm because she had a blog event to go to tonight. She invited me to come stay with her, hang out in the city this afternoon and do some shopping tomorrow morning, and get some rare alone time while she was at her event. It was a glamorous plan and I made it even more glamorous by deciding to spend most of the evening in the hotel room by myself with Netflix and dumplings to-go. I did a thorough investigation of the movie selection and ultimately picked Steel Magnolias, an obvious choice because I've never seen it despite its status as a well-loved classic and because I'm never going to get The Swede to watch it with me so I need to take advantage of the alone time. Also, I thought it would be pretty safe because I already knew how it ends and believed that knowing would keep me from getting too sad. But I was wrong, clearly. I still feel pretty good about my choice, though, if for no other reason than The Swede would have cried ten times more than I did if I had ever been able to convince him to watch it. I'm happy to have spared him that.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Daily Jamie

Agreeing To Disagree

Each November I do a delicate dance with my mother-in-law. She doesn't know we're dancing, but we are. In this dance, I start decorating for Christmas sometime between mid-November and the first Sunday of Advent whilst fervently making sure she doesn't find out. Just to be clear: there is nobody I know who is more into Christmas decorating than she is, but Mama Swede is a purist and would never dream of putting out even one of her hundreds of Santas before Advent. She's never said as much to my face (though once she commented on my blog), but I'm quite sure she's pretty disappointed by my Christmas decorating habits. So I don't put anything in the window in case she should happen to drive by. I make strategical choices, like the amaryllis I put on the front porch, which can be categorized as more of a winter item than a Christmas one, should I ever be pressed to explain myself. And this... well, this isn't a Christmas doormat, it's just kurbits, that's all. I've being doing this dance for the past week, putting a lot of effort into my strategery, when The Swede went ahead and revealed on The Molsta Group that I was about to hang Christmas curtains. Mama Swede responded with a cringing emoticon. My mobile device throbbed with disappointment (disgust?) in my hand. I went to my choir rehearsal later that evening feeling shameful and resentful of The Swede's big mouth and then was TOTALLY REDEEMED when I arrived at the church and saw this glorious sight. If The Swedish Church gets to decorate for Christmas before Advent, then by gosh, so do I!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Daily Jamie

November 14th
November 15th
November 16th

ChocoVine For The Win

On Friday we hosted the final round of the now annual dinner party competion with Mama and Papa Swede and Gurra and Gunilla. We went with the theme The European Union so we served Spanish sangria, French brie-stuffed croissants, Italian tortellini, and German chocolate cake. We weren't planning on it, but at the end of the meal we remembered that my pops had given us a bottle of Dutch ChocoVine back in September. Because it fit so well into the theme (and because ChocoVine seemed like the kind of thing that requires moral support to try) we decided to bust it open for the occasion. And just as my father promised, it was unexpectedly awesome and totally worth its weight in our luggage. I daresay ChocoVine may have scored us some extra points and if that's what pushed us over the edge I owe my pops a thank you because we totally won!