Friday, October 30, 2009

Clearly I Survived

If possible, get youself over to Ikea ASAP.  It's Christmas up in there and you will JUST DIE from the sweetness of it all.  It is a yuletide heaven.  We went last night and, just before I passed out from the magnitude of emotion that washed over me when I laid eyes on the crackling fire within that charming hearth, I said to The Swede, "Hand me that stuffed rat and take a picture.  I want it printed along with my obituary."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Meatballs by Candlelight

I haven't told you yet, and I suppose I'm spoiling the photo op now, but our hotel serves meatballs for breakfast.  When in Rome, right?  Then for lunch today we went to a deli and picked up a couple of servings of their specialty.  You guessed it:  meatballs.  It's early afternoon now and we don't have dinner plans yet, but I perceive a challenge here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Promise to Love You Forevermore

It's like they knew I was coming and rolled out the red carpet... er... ABBA banner.  This poster in our hotel lobby is advertising a dinner theater show in Gothenburg around Christmastime and frankly, I think it's about time.  It's not like I've been here for a heck of a long time or anything, but I can't understand why I haven't heard more ballyhoo regarding what I'd say is arguably the greatest musical act of all time.  Where's the pride?  I mean, I've turned my swagger on for all of American hip-hop so it's time to step up your game, Sweden.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'm a Lucky Lady

The Swede and I spent all day implimenting a new scanning system for the Gothenburg warehouse.  We would alternate tasks - writing down part numbers, inputting them into a system that made bar codes for each number, scanning the bar codes to make labels, and applying them to the shelves - and while I was applying labels I found this one.  Say it with me now: AWWWWWWW!

Monday, October 26, 2009


We've just arrived at our hotel in Gothenburg, where we'll be staying for the week to lend expertise at the office and attend the big game on Sunday.  The Swede was at the Stockholm office for 6 hours this morning then drove 5 hours to get us here and apparently that entitles him to loaf around with the sports page.  Well, some of us have work to do.  Like blogging.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Game Day

Despite appearances, The Swede is quite happy here.  Our team, AIK, won the derby this afternoon and here we are later at O'Leary's, an American-style pub, watching Liverpool beat Manchester United with our friends Petra and Thomas.  I'm faily certain he doesn't give a toss about Liverpool, but everyone knows you're supposed to hate Manchester United because they have all kinds of money to buy the best players so of course they have an advantage.  They're the Yankees of football, if you will.  But I'm pretty confident that this enthusiasm is left over from the AIK win anyway.   

Swedes Love Piracy

I was craving some Muppets last week and all I could find streaming online was The Muppet Christmas Carol, which is fine because, despite its seasonal prematurity, it's totally my favorite.  And wouldn't you know it, the version I found on an American video search engine had Swedish subtitles.  This is actually not that surprising because Swedes are, like, global leaders in copyright infringement.  After all, it was Swedes who founded The Pirate Bay, the world's largest file sharing site.  Furthermore!  The third largest political party here is The Pirate Party, whose objective is to reform copyright and patent laws to decriminalize file sharing.  Bold.  Well, whatever, I'm just glad they're on the forefront of this issue because otherwise I may not be able to follow Dexter so effortlessly.  

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I Got It From My Mama

Remember how yesterday I said it felt like Christmas?  Well, I was right on the money.  And you know how I inherited oodles of charm and intelligence from my mom?  Well, I also got pumpkin spice cappuccino mix, multiple dessert mixes - including PINK FUNFETTI FROSTING!!! for my forthcoming birthday cake - taco fixins and a lifetime supply of Splenda.  And that's just the food!  I'll move on to the rest in a moment, but first please take a gander at what she wrote on the Ortega Dinner Kit:  "Just Add Oxen".  See, I told her that oxfilé seemed to be the dominant red meat here, which I thought was pretty silly since I didn't have the impression that oxen were especially rampant around here.  But get this:  an ox, aside from having the distinction of being the only animal that can play tic-tac-toe, is just a cow with a job.  Who knew?  You, now.  Thank goodness you read this blog.  Anyhow, Mommy also sent a load of other treats home with The Swede - things that are either hard to come by or really expensive here.  That's right, I'm talking to you, $8 shaving foam.  He was charged an extra $50 by the airline to haul the extra weight, but The Swede came home to a kid in a candy shop. 

Friday, October 23, 2009


The Swede is kicking it in New York waiting to board a plane to come home to me.  It feels like Christmas. 

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Ate Fresh

Why should The Swede have all the culinary fun this week?  I went ahead and indulged in a tasty American sammy today and it was a delight.  The funny thing about Subway here is that half the menu is in Swedish and half in English.  So a chicken sandwich is Kycklingbröst but if you add bacon and ranch the whole thing becomes Chicken Bacon Ranch.  I was loyal to the motherland in this situation, mostly because I'm not even close to comfortable with the "ö" sound yet, but also because I freaking love bacon.  And, per the usual, the sandwich artist started in on me in flawless English as soon as I opened my Cleveland yapper. 

Take That, Göteborg!

Since I've been in a painting mood lately I decided to make it personal today.  I chose black because, well, it's our team color.  It's for luck, baby!  Lauren Conrad's influence had nothing to do with it.  Honest. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Appropriately Titled Television Programming

Let me just preface this by saying that I don't actually know this woman, per se, but we have a mutual Facebook friend and that's good enough for me to play the "I'm Friends With a Swedish Celeb" card again.  This is Linda, a friend of The Swede's sister, and I am watching her get berated for an hour on national television.  She, apparently voluntarily, brought Arga Snickaren, The Angry Carpenter, into her disaster of a home to tell her that she's a bad parent for raising children in these shady conditions and then fix the place up, all while making her cry more than she ever has in her entire life.  I may not understand a lot of the language, but I majored in acting so I'm an bona fide expert on intonation and trust, that carpenter is ANGRY. 

But a Swedish Man Would Never Wear Such Baggy Pants

Swedish men:  strong, powerful, hardworking.  Nothing like those American jokers.  You best believe if I saw a Swedish man working I would get out of the way because I'm pretty sure some serious labor would be going down, as evidenced by this incredibly detailed traffic sign. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Um... Really, Sweden?

Just the other day I was telling my chum Selah that I didn't know how I could have Thanksgiving this year since I hadn't seen marshmallows here and sweet potatoes without marshmallows are an affront to the very rationality of my nature.  Well, call off the dogs because I seem to have found them.  I think.  I'm going to go ahead and assume that the term "BBQ" here refers to the setting in which one should roast these and not the actual flavor of the marshmallows.  Otherwise I may have just found the only thing worse than naked sweet potatoes. 

Enough With the Fall Colors Already

I went outside this afternoon to get some much needed fresh air and pick up some swatches from the paint store.  Because the trees were so lovely I took a little side trip to the top of a hill on the next block.  I keep having to remind myself that autumn is beautiful everywhere, lady; nobody wants to see all your darn leaf pictures.  But it is pretty special how the leaves match the buildings here. 

Monday, October 19, 2009

Back in America

Back in June when The Swede came to meet my family / hang by the pool, we stopped at Swagelok for a little photo session.  If this glamour shot had been taken back in the late '90s I feel pretty confident that it would have made its way into the senior picture pages of the Kungsängen High yearbook.  I mean, if you can get past the beefcake in the foreground, feast your eyes upon that gleaming 2001 Toyota Corolla, that glorious Swagelok flag blowing in the wind and the cloudless summer sky reflected in the Order Fulfillment Center's silvery windows.  I like to imagine a perfect scene like this being recreated as we speak.


Oh, you know, when I'm not touching lives with the blogstravaganza and slinging paint all over the flat I'm taking pictures of myself slinging paint all over the flat.  Stay tuned because one of these days I bet I'll get real crazy and post a picture of myself blogging.  Intense, right?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Not Even Close to Playing it Cool

This morning The Swede hopped a plane to the states for a training class at the corporate headquarters in Cleveland.  Pillar of the organization, remember?  None of us wanted him to leave, but some of us were a little more demonstrative about it.  Where's your pride, Justin Bobby? 

Sarianne's Magnificent New Garage

The Great Garage Makeover 2009 continued this weekend in Söderköping and, as has become tradition, it was punctuated with some variety of uncomfortable weather.  The first weekend my feet melted inside my shoes while painting and skipping rope with Elin.  Next, rain.  Those tiny drops that are more irritating than they are wet.  And this weekend, bone-chilling cold.  So cold, indeed, that I required my fluffy coat which I proptly got paint on.  Mama Swede came to the rescue with nail polish remover and saved the day, though, so just relax, okay?  I might be the only wimp who even noticed the climate, however, because I have never seen such positivity, such team work, as I have in this family.  Either that or they snuck in a bunch of Swedish curse words without me noticing. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Scraping the Bottom of the Blogging Barrel

Dying for some minutiae, are you?  Well here you have it.  All I've been doing all day is painting, minus a short walk to get some fresh air before the fumes kill the part of my brain that operates Facebook, so I don't have anything exciting to tell you about.  Except!  Every Monday I spend the hours of 10:30-13:30 (that's right, we're on military time here... booyah!) on our laundry, and is it ever satisfying.  Not to brag, but I'm a killer folder and please look at these facilities!  Everything I could ever need is at my exclusive disposal for three hours and TOTALLY FREE.  I spent too many years collecting quarters as though they were golden treasure not to appreciate that.  And, you know, take pictures of it.


Someday I'll most assuredly grow up, but that day is not today.  So this, of course, makes me giggle.  I get very confused by the many Swedish words that end in 'art'.  But I'm fine with the 'fart' words.  On principle. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


The Swede is in Gothenburg on business.  You know he's pretty much the pillar of the organization, right?  They put him up in this swank hotel on the most fashionable street in the city, the same place we stayed this summer.  Here is the view from the rooftop bar in August, a spot which is surely a ghost town this time of year.  And since it's so cold out, I bet he's in his room watching The Hills.  But Justin Bobby is not so nonchalant, Audrina not so tan, nor Spencer so loyal when you're watching alone. 

Paint, Paint, Paint

There's a project underway at the flat, y'all.  Our place is painted light gray, which I thought was perfectly lovely until The Swede said it reminded him of a prison, a remark that stirred up some major enthusiasm on my part for a makeover.  We still haven't decided on the new color, but all of the trim had to be repainted beforehand anyhow and I'm all over it.  And by all over it I mean I can't stop thinking about paint.  I'm unstoppable.  I've always lived in rentals so the creative freedom is intoxicating.  Don't leave me alone here too long or I will turn this place into a pink paradise. 

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bonus Photos from the Wallpaper Store

It's your lucky day, team!  I have TWO photos from our trip to the paint and wallpaper store this evening, proving that it was the Best Trip to the Wallpaper Store Ever.  Granted it was my first time there, but based on tonight's experience, I'm hopeful that it won't be my last.  Okay, so first off please look at the model there on the Eco Respekt label.  I'm not just trying to make myself seem even more chic and exclusive than I clearly already am, but that's our friend Jesper.  That's right: we're chummy with a real live working model.  Respekt indeed. 

Next.  Wouldn't you know, a few weeks ago I said we should get some authentic-looking zebra pillows for the bedroom.  The Swede made some rude comment about Americans having no style.  Bah!  And then, today in the enthralling wallpaper store I noted this swatch - this elegant, alluring swatch - fittingly titled "Mara".  You can't argue with that.  You just can't.


I used to get excited to see Ohio plates in Nashville so you can imagine how pumped I was to see this Jaguar parked right around the corner from our place.  Make that our flat, rather.  This is Europe, baby.  Anyway, I left the flat yesterday and saw this beauty and stopped dead in my tracks.  I shed a small tear and looked around madly for the owner and then admired the car itself, one that absolutely deserved to be shipped from the states.  And since I discovered it I've only had one thought on my mind:  Mom, I expect you know what you need to do with the Corolla.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Swedish Projects

This weekend we cruised over to Rinkeby, the 'hood that cultivated such talents as Martin Mutumba of our football team, AIK, and Rigo Pencheff the rapper.  Given that distinction, I'll obviously want to raise my children there so I figured we'd better check it out.  Problem is, it also has a reputation as the shadiest neighborhood in the country.  Some guy was killed there a few years back, so there you have it.  Looks pretty menacing, right?

Friday, October 9, 2009


Please take a look at what some creep did to his car.  This is offensive.  We have so much in common, The Swede and I, and yet, after laying eyes on this atrocity I was vomiting in the bushes while he was dialing Airbrush Studio Stockholm to see what we could have done to the Smart Car.

High Demands on Swedish Postal Workers

"No thanks, no advertising, but I like the Ikea catalogue."  Brilliant!  Although I must say the last part goes without saying.  Did H. Wahlberg forget where he lived for a moment?  Our little mailbox label just says "no advertising" and we still get the Ikea catalogue because it's not an ad, it's literature.  But how ingenious of the Swedes to save themselves the trouble of throwing out their unwanted mail!  Who wouldn't love this option?  Hard working Americans, that's who.  In America we sort through our own outrageously abundant junk mail, by God!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Unaware He's About to Have His World Rocked

Whoa, team, go see District 9.  You will not be sorry.  And, listen, I'm a girl - a lady, rather - and I recognize that action and violence and aliens can get old after a couple of hours, but I can also appreciate mind-blowing special effects and a profound, mulit-layered story line.  We walked out of the theater 17 hours ago and I've been contemplating it ever since.  On another note:  It never snows in L.A.

Note That They Do Indeed Have Corn on the Cob in Sweden

This is the kind of thing a girl wants to see when she moves to Europe!  Someone set up a fruit stand in front of my Little Italy apartment once and I practically peed my pants from delight.  It felt oh-so-Euro to just walk out onto the street for ones groceries.  This produce stand in downtown Sundbyberg is the real deal and it's on display despite the brisk weather we've been having, which I think is fine because most fruits and veggies freeze well, right?  Right? 

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bad at Cheese

Cheese, what happened to us?  We used to be so close.  The best of friends.  Then I move to Sweden and all of a sudden you're giving me grief time after time and in public settings, no less.  Quit embarassing me, cheese!  Back home our relationsip was so simple:  you were individually wrapped or pre-shredded for my convenience or, if you were feeling sassy, you were spreadable.  Here, though, you come with fragile and complicated accoutrements.  When I think you should be on your back you're on your side, when you're on your side I'm convinced you should be on your rounded back.  Get yourself together, cheese, or I'll have to find someone new who makes me look better.  Tuna noodle casserole is on deck if that's any motivation.

Monday, October 5, 2009

You Too Can Have One For a Cool 59 Cents

You know how in America there are certain things that everyone experiences?  Government subsidized swish, for example.  Or Saved By The Bell, if your parents didn't think it was demeaning to women and forbid you to watch it.  Ranch dressing.  Surely there are hundreds of uniquely Swedish commonalities as well, but one of the most obvious to me is the Ikea bag.  You see, when a baby is born in Sweden, upon leaving the hospital the proper authorities issue the parents a birth certificate and a blue polypropylene satchel, neatly folded down into a package the size of a 70 sheet wirebound college-ruled notebook.  It unfolds into a 19 gallon masterpiece with which to carry anything from laundry, yard clippings and trash to your hopes and dreams for your own children's federally funded Ikea bag.

Hej Då, Sunshine

It was cleaning day in the crib, so I'm short a photo from our glamorous life.  Nobody wants to see me scrubbing the toilet.  Not classy.  So I present you with this image from our trip to Gothenburg this summer as a reminder that the sun will be back in a few months.  Well, half a year anyway.  Hang in there.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

From Cat Blog to Food Blog

Second only to Thai food in prevalence here is the illustrious kebab.  My dear Turkish friend from home, Zeynep, trotted out some excellent Cleveland kebab, but the cheap, greasy stuff you find all over the place here is something special.  We had it for lunch today and I've seldom been more pleased by anything wrapped in foil.    

The First and Most Important Swedish Word I Learned

Today is the day you learn about fredagsmys.  Here is Elin, The Swede's niece, with a collection of delicious snacks to celebrate the end of the week.  Sweden is a beautiful place, people.  It's a place where they have a word for eating-chips-as-a-family-on-the-sofa-preferably-in-your-sweatpants-with-quality-entertainment-on-tv-most-commonly-the-likes-of-Idol-or-some-other-reality-show-but-strictly-on-Fridays-in-this-case.  I've done some research on this phenomenon and it seems that it started in families with children and has spread even to young, childless couples who otherwise would be out partying.  Sitting on the couch on a Friday night is pretty lame, but fredagsmys is WHERE IT'S AT.  There's even a song, and you'll have to listen to know how to pronounce fredagsmys because, despite an entire semester learning the International Phonetic Alphabet, I couldn't apply it to this bad boy for all the potato chips in the world.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Well, it's been a couple of days since I've posted and I'm here to report it's going to be one more.  Aside from this, that is.  It's just that it's chilly and raining out and there's this really cute dude on the couch who wants to cuddle.  That and I'm feeling extra lazy.  See you tomorrow for sure, though!