Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cheese Doodle Enthusiast

I spent the afternoon at Petra's yesterday and was shocked, when Dylan woke from his nap, to find that the little guy had grown several new teeth since the last time I saw him.  The new choppers make him look so much more like a little boy than a baby and he's surely enjoying using them on these tasty snacks.  I'm going to let him live in blissful ignorance a bit longer, but the sad truth is that number of teeth is inversely proportionate to one's ability to resist unwanted weight gain from said tasty snacks.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Our friend Thomas started a glamorous new job this week in sales and distribution for a Swedish beverage company.  This is great news for us because we scored some free samples.  We totally would have paid for them, though, based on his enthusiasm for the product, not to mention his sweet sales tactics.  We were told, for example, that this vitamin juice helps make folks, well, fertile.  Let's see how they phrase that on the billboard.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Meet Stockholm's LeBron James

Okay, so granted it's not taking up the side of a whole building, but I think it's pretty obvious that Martin Matumba, my very favorite footballer in Sweden, is kind of a big deal. 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Earth Hour 2010

Last night, just before 8:30, The Swede and I closed down all of our electronics and turned off our lights and headed out in recognition of Earth Hour.  We wanted to be out on the street when the clock struck 8:30 and watch the lights go off in our neighborhood all at once.  It didn't happen.  We walked to a tiny pub in downtown Sundbyberg and enjoyed a couple of cocktails, appropriately by candlelight.  And when 9:30 came we looked out the window in front of us and waited for a bunch of apartments to light up again and, yeah, it didn't happen.  I think I understand why Earth Hour didn't seem as universally recognized as I expected, though, because when we came home the lights were back on, music was blasting and the cats were playing the PS3, totally countering our effort to be good stewards of this planet.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Rhythm is a Dancer

Last night I went bowling and dancing with the girls from school to celebrate Nastja's 25th birthday.  Oh, yeah, we had a good time.  Nastja especially, obvs.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Getting the Good Gossip

One of the best things about my Swedish school is also one of the worst.  Every six weeks a new period begins so new people join existing classes offering the opportunity to make more friends but many old friends also move on to other classes.  Such is the case with my girls Nastja and Yasmin who have continued on to a different class, leaving me quite lonely.  Until this week I saw these girls almost every day for nearly two months so I was so glad to run into them after class today after feeling their absence for the past week.  We, including Anna on the left, who is still in my class, decided we should probably have lunch together to catch up and ended up chatting over pizza for most of the afternoon. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Bit of a Stretch

Pay special attention to the waffle cone in this picture because this post is actually about waffles, not ice cream.  Or my waistline.  Anyway, I was forced to buy this because they don't have frozen waffles in our market (or possibly in Sweden, as far as I know) and we don't have a waffle iron but we had to have waffles today because, well, it's waffle day.  Våffeldagen.  Guys, I cannot make this stuff up.  I realize it sounds a little random to have a holiday for waffles, but it's quite the opposite indeed.  You see, this is a Christian celebration dating back to at least the 1400's that commemorates the Virgin Mary.  Confused?  Don't be.  You're about to learn that it makes PERFECT SENSE.  Our Lady's Day, every March 25th (nine months before Christmas, so you do the math as to the significance of the date), is "Vårfrudagen" in Swedish and if you say it a couple of times fast it begins to sound like Våffeldagen.  See?  So while I admit it was stretching it to celebrate waffle day with a packaged waffle cone sundae, I think we can all agree that turning this centuries-old Christian tradition into another pastry-packed indulgence fest is totally legit.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Sight for Sore Eyes

Sarianne inspired me to look down at the ground around me on my walk from school today. Crocuses are blooming in Söderköping and now that the sun is shining every couple of days here and allowing a lot of the snow to melt, I was excited at the possibility of finding the first blossoms of spring. And find them I did! I'm not getting too excited because more snow is forecast and these suckers really just poke their heads out because they know Christ is due to rise again, but they're sure nice to see anyhow.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Just When I Was Starting to Think Iceland Wasn't One of Those Joke Countries

So, I got a call from The Swede at about 5:45 yesterday morning, a couple of hours before his plane was supposed to take off from Keflavik International Airport in Iceland, where he had spent the past four days with his colleagues.  Thing was, he wasn't going to be flying home for awhile because a volcano had just erupted.  Um, excuse me?  Yes, that's right.  This same man who had spent hours and hours in the middle of nowhere on a train in a blizzard just weeks before was now being trapped in Iceland because of a volcano that hadn't erupted in almost 200 years.  Obviously he has all the luck.  And obviously I totally didn't take this picture.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Season of Hope

You can officially stop feeling sorry for me now because, as of today, the sun will start setting about 5.3 minutes later than the day before, whereas in, say, Cleveland, Ohio it will be setting just 3 minutes later so that by June 20th there were be almost 19 hours of daylight in Stockholm but just 15 in Cleveland.  Maybe it doesn't seem like such a big deal, but afer six months of the opposite it feels pretty exciting to me.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Never Again on a Weekend

I'm not a prideful individual.  I'll admit when I'm wrong, when I make a mistake.  And today I made a mistake.  I spent the morning spring cleaning and made excellent progress and, since I had the afternoon to myself, I decided to go to Ikea to get some scented candles as the final touch to my purification process.  When The Swede walks in, I want the apartment to smell like The Secret Garden (the actual garden, that is, not the Marietta College Theatre Department's 2005 production, which smelled like musty set pieces and my director's cigarette smoke).  So I took the train and the bus to Ikea and then made my way through a jungle of shoppers and just tried to maintain my composure.  I had never seen it like this.  By the time I left, barely 45 minutes later, as the leisurely stroll through paradise I had envisioned turned out to be the exact opposite, I felt like a crotchety old man and was grateful that I lived in Sweden where nobody would try to talk to me.  On another note, when I got home and opened up the packaging of a cardboard storage box I purchased there were eight screws and a four-page instruction book.  FOR A CARDBOARD BOX. 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Lonely Gals' Dinner

I spent the last 24 hours feeling wretched.  I won't get into details, but suffice it to say it would have been nice to have my mommy here to hold my hair.  Mercifully, though, it was a considerably brief illness and I've spent the day taking it easy and testing the waters of my tummy with saltines and tea.  By dinnertime I felt like I could keep something more substantial down and since The Swede was away enjoying a lux lamb dinner on the company, I got to choose whatever I wanted.  Don't judge me, either, because you know you've done it too.  And if you haven't, you should.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Olden Days

Today instead of the usual lecture our teacher Tanja led us into the city like a mama duck to visit Medeltidsmuseet.  We've been talking about Swedish history all week, focusing especially on the Vikings because, well, they were SWEET, but, as I'm about to illustrate, shortsighted.  Did you know that about five centuries before Christopher Columbus the Vikings landed in North America?  They named it Vinland because of all the grapevines that grew there on their own but ultimately were like "pshht, nothin' good here" and abandoned the place to the likes of, well, me and the rest of melting pot.  Just think:  we all could have been Swedes.  But then there would have been no hip-hop.  I shudder to think.   

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Don't Wear It Out

A couple of days ago I received a package from Selah, the contents of which were more luxurious than I deserve.  Namely, Dove dark chocolates and this Carrie Bradshaw-style necklace.  Please try to imagine how hard I had to try to keep myself from shrieking after I tore the wrapping paper off of this bling while walking down the street and within earshot of many, many people.  I just hope I don't fall in Dior, think I lost it and then find it later in the lining of my vintage clutch.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Good Day to be Geese

No, I'm not so naive to think that spring is here, but the past few days have been sunny, warm(er) and one has been able to see the ground for the first time in months.  The fowl down by the lakes are regaining their confidence and surely enjoying the fact that most of the population of Sundbyberg is out and about enjoying this much-desired improvement in climate.  And bringing bread with them.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Nightly Nelson

Today I sat in the computer chair.  I hopped up onto the desk for a minute, but didn't like it so I went back to the chair.  I drank a bit.  Ate some kibble.  Then I sat on the windowsill.  I nibbled at the plants and went ahead and deposited some fur in them while I was at it.  Now that I think of it, I deposited some fur on the computer chair and desk too.  Next I sat in Mom's lap while she was trying to do her homework.  I deposited an outrageous amount of fur on her.  Later I sat on the toilet for awhile.  I ate some more kibble.  I licked my paws.  I tried to escape when Papa came home, but he was so nice to me that I stayed.  He's always really happy to see me when he comes home.  In the evening I chased Saba around and when I caught her I played too hard and Mom and Papa had to separate us.  Oops.  I spent the rest of the night in the computer chair.  It was a good day.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Schlager Fest

Here is part of the crowd from last night's Melodifestivalen Finale Viewing Party at Mama and Papa Swede's.  After dinner and just before the show started, we sent a paper hot air balloon into the sky after we had all scribbled who we thought would win on it.  Sadly, though, most of our wishes didn't come true as the song below, which no one favored, ended up winning.  Nevertheless, it was still a heck of a good time and we talked schlager, sang schlager and watched schlager on YouTube until four in the morning.  Fifty-two more weeks and we get to do it again!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Consider Me Initiated

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Globen!  This arena, which apparently one can scale the side of and ride a mini-Globe to the top of, was the site of one of the best concerts of my life.  Indeed, not since Simon and Garfunkel's Old Friends tour have I enjoyed live music so much.  Because one can only purchase four tickets at a time - the event is that popular - the family was split up into groups so The Swede, Sarianne and her sister-in-law Liza, and I sat together and probably made those around us nuts with all of our clapping and woo-ing. 
Indeed, we were so obnoxious that all of the photos I took of actual performances turned out blurry because I was shaking a tail feather so hard.  I did manage to get this one of the intro, though, so you can see how good our seats were and get an idea of how colossal Globen is.
Afterwards, some of the gang went out to party it up at a gay club called Paradise where, for once, The Swede wasn't forced to fend off hundreds of dudes trying to get my number and Sarianne somehow still managed to get at least four free drinks.  The Swede's cousin Anne and a bunch of her friends from London flew in especially for the occasion and all contributed to an excellent night.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Initiation Night

I feel like I've been preparing for this moment my whole life.  I was listening to Blondie in utero, grew up on ABBA Gold, The Beach Boy's Endless Summer was my first CD and I spent four years of high school with 'N Sync posters on my bedroom walls.  And now, tonight, I will be attending the biggest pop music event I know of with a bunch of folks to whom schlager is a religion.  I only hope I can keep up.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Tomorrow is the big day!  And, okay, I lied; I didn't post these songs in random order.  This last one is my favorite and I wanted it fresh in your minds so that when I come back on Sunday and tell you that this song won you will have no problem remembering how your heart pounded when you watched these girls tear up the stage.  Plus, your legs will still be sore from the furious toe-tapping you will have done while watching.  On top of being a fun, catchy song (if you don't fully understand the lyrics, that is, as I understand they are a bit flaky), these broads are gorgeous.  Sweden is famous for its pop music and beautiful blonde women so what better group to send to Eurovision to represent?  Just watch.  I'm certain you'll agree.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Something amazing is happening on Friday and that thing is that I, along with The Swede's immidiate family, a cousin and some friends flying in from London, am going to the Melodifestivalen Final's dress rehearsal at Globen!!!  If you're thinking, "um, okaaaaay" right now you obviously don't live in Sweden, because let me tell you it's a BIG DEAL.  So, leading up to the big event, I'm going to share my top three out of the ten songs competing, in no particular order.  Feel free to weigh-in in the comments and enjoy!

Monday, March 8, 2010


Since we live in the city The Swede hardly ever gets the opportunity shovel snow.  When you don't have to do it I guess it seems appealing because every time we've gone to Söderköping this winter he has spent a couple of hours outside catapulting snow around the yard.  And this weekend he had the pleasure of actually climbing onto the house to clear the snow from the roof.  Dubblish, new car, PS3, rooftop shoveling... it's been a good winter.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Just My Luck

Sarianne celebrated her recent milestone birthday last night by hosting twelve of her nearest, dearest and thirstiest at a fabulous dinner party followed by dancing in Norrköping.  The only thing more fabulous than Sarianne's fabulous party are her fabulous friends, such as Brittis, seen here having the time of her life.  I'm telling you, this family and their friends are especially warm, generous and open people who always make me feel like an insider.  Who else thinks I totally picked the right Swede?   

Friday, March 5, 2010

You Are What You Eat

Today's dinner was a wild success compared to last night's and totally worth photographing.  The Swede emailed me this afternoon to say that he had a plan for dinner so I had an excuse not to embarass myself again.  He picked me up on the way home from work and we went to the supermarket to buy fresh ingredients for a homemade pizza, which turned out perfectly and looked delectable and bubbly in the oven.  Or was that me?  Heh. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Probably Heading Out for a Frozen Pizza Later

When our dinner came out of the oven I snapped a few photos of it even though it didn't look amazing because I thought it would surely taste amazing and I would just have to tell you about it.  And then I tasted it and was thoroughly underwhelmed.  Ugly and boring equals no reason to share it online, that's for sure, so you get to look at this bird's dinner instead.  Yep, birdseed actually beat out Pan Roasted Chicken and Veggies. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Look at Your Future Soft Drinks

You might think it's a slow week if I'm blogging about kitchen appliances.  Maybe so, but this is no ordinary appliance.  It's the future.  And at least I'm not writing about cheese again, right?  So.  First, it's important to note that what you see in counter space in this photo is what you get, so needless to say we have to be very judicious about our countertop appliances.  I think you'll agree that the area required for this SodaStream, a machine that carbonates boring old water so you can add dozens of flavors and make your own soda in reusable bottles is well worth it, both for the environment and one's pocketbook.  I'd never heard of this before I came here, where they are a pretty big deal, but I think it's only a matter of time before every American household has one too. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I've been feeling like I'm on the verge of getting sick for the past couple of days, so when I felt fine for my Ikea date with Petra and Dylan this afternoon I was thrilled.  I took the train and the bus to her place where we chatted over coffee for awhile, then pushed Dylan in his stroller over to the fortress of furnishings and fine dining for a late lunch.  And did I mention that, in addition to practically every other thing you could possibly want or need, Ikea has play areas?  In one, you can drop off your kid while you shop and the other is in the center of the dining room.  Dylan had a grand time drooling all over the other rugrats and burning countless calories making us laugh.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Teeny Tiny Cons on an Itty Bitty Chain Gang

Hardly a day goes by that I don't see a pack of kiddos trudging through the snow on some kind of field trip with their daycare teachers.  Every daycare, it seems, outfits the kids in fluorescent vests and gives them a loop in a long rope to hang on to in order to stick with the crew.  Sure, it may seem like they're having fun, but to me it just looks like they're paying their debt to society.