Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Grande No Foam Skinny Vanilla Latte, Please

Please take a look at this sweet coffee maker!  It has FOURTEEN beverage options!  This is in one of the break rooms of the offices Petra and I have been cleaning and all of the other break rooms we've seen have similar models.  Even The Swede's office has a killer coffee machine, which leads me to believe that these Starbucks-rivaling apparatuses are a Swedish office staple.  Which means I need an office job even more than I thought.

Rock the Smock

I'm sure you're wondering the following:  did she get a job as a dentist?  Is her apartment so huge that she requires all of these accoutrements to keep house?  Where are her pants?  Well, the fact is I'm going to be helping out Petra with her cleaning job a few times in the next couple of weeks and I'm going to be wearing shorts ever so slightly shorter than the smock because said smock is quite warm when you're working like a dog changing the toilet paper rolls of Sweden's professionals.  Stay classy.

Monday, June 28, 2010


When I opened the front door this evening, The Swede was standing there with a bunch of roses and a pastry box.  First off, AW!  And second, I've always wanted something - anything - in a pastry box, but I thought they only existed in the movies.  This particular pastry box contains two leftover pieces of chocolate cake, the whole cake and the flowers being a gift to Mama Swede from one of her students that she couldn't keep because she and Papa Swede are going to Greece tomorrow.  Aw, neverthless.  Secondhand cake and roses are cake and roses in any case.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Boys Will Be Boys

It's incredible that I captured a photo where all of these guys' mouths are closed because I'm telling you, they were shouting up a storm every other moment.  The Swede and the Johansson brothers stopped by our apartment between two World Cup matches today and, per their usual, hollered the entire time. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

My First Midsommar

Yesterday being Midsommarafton, The Swede and I made our way to our friend Dan's parents' house out in the coutry to spend the day and night with their family, Dan's girlfriend Emilie and their friends Anna and Håkan.  We arrived around noon and started the party with Emilie's punch then moved on to a traditional lunch of, you guessed it, meatballs, sausages, potatoes and no less than nine varieties of fish.  I'm not exaggerating about the fish.  During the meal we sang songs that The Swede had prepared before doing shots of snaps, all while sitting in the shade of a tent that typically protects Midsommar revelers from rain. 
Yesterday was perfectly beautiful, though.  Not a cloud in the sky for most of the day and warm enough, even, for a dip in the nearby lake later in the afternoon.  We spent fourteen hours outside, dancing and grilling and laughing, and spent the night in the old workers' quarters of this 16th century farm.   It was an incredible day and I'm already looking forward to next year.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Obviously I Love My Life

I hadn't seen Yasmin in over four weeks, which was just too, too long.  We met at the top of the subway entrance at Åhléns City this hot afternoon and walked over to a Chinese restaurant.  We grabbed a couple of outdoor seats and had to switch tables after a few minutes because it was too hot in the sun.  Golly, I never thought I'd see that day come.  We sat there for a long time and caught up on the last month, then took a walk through Gamla Stan and along the harbor, past the palace and through Kungsträdgården and ended our afternoon on the benches at Sergels Torg watching the fountain and the hundreds of people with their purple Systembolaget bags heading home to gear up for Midsommarafton tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dropping In

My friends Charles and John from Christ Church back in Cleveland are the kings of cruising.  They've been on 54 cruises now but this is the first time they've visited Scandanavia.  As soon as they knew the date and time of their docking in Stockholm, Charles and John got in touch with me and another Christ Church alum who lives here to meet up with them.  Our time together was too short, as their ship left for Helsinki just a couple of hours after we met up, but it was wonderful to see their familiar faces.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Beach Season Blessing

Good to know this is just around the corner.  All that delicious American fast food did a number on my otherwise slammin' bikini bod.  Heh.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Getting the Job Done

Last time we went shopping and needed to buy handsoap, I just reached for the cheapest option.  "Oh, no," said The Swede.  "We're not putting any ugly bottle of soap on our bathroom sink just to save a few kronor.  We need something exclusive."  At the time we selected the swankiest-looking soap in the store and I've been on the lookout for its replacement as the liquid levels dwindle.  That's right.  Just because he put a ring on it doesn't mean I'm going to stop doing everything in my power to keep him happy.  And I think this fits the bill.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Once Upon a Time

Much fuss has been made this year over Crown Princess Victoria's summer wedding to her prince, Daniel Westling, and today was finally THE day.  Stepping out onto the street from our apartment building, it could have been any other day.  Once we entered the subway, however, it became clear that folks were out and about.  More folks than usual.  Way more.  And they had Swedish flags and plastic crowns and a few little girls were dressed as brides.  The Swede and I met up with his folks at Kungsträdgården and walked through the estimated 500,000 people to find a good viewing spot along the royal parade route on Strandvägen.  We stood there for a couple of hours, watching the different military branches parade by before forming a human barrier and listening to a marching band play ABBA.  And then the clouds literally parted for the newlywed Prince and Princess as they passed, beaming, in a horse-drawn carriage.  Basically, I spent my day in a fairytale.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Dramatics Begin

Have you heard there's a World Cup on?  Because Sweden didn't qualify, The Swede is cheering for the US (duh) but still watching as many of the other games as possible (double duh).  At any rate, I expect to see many more scenes like this in the coming weeks.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Whoa, Now!

We went over to Mama and Papa Swede's for some grilling this evening for the first time since we've been back in Sweden.  We toasted our engagement then set free some butterflies that Mama Swede and Elin have been incubating.  I love this photo of everyone's reaction when this particular butterfly took off from The Swede's finger.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Cure for Jet Lag

What to fix for dinner when you haven't slept for more than three straight hours in three straight days?  Chips and dip.  It also served the important function of bringing us back into our zone.  Pair it with The Biggest Loser and it's starting to feel like home again.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The End of a 36-Hour Day

Well, the bags are unpacked, the closets are now filled with new American clothes, the cats are exploring the apartment like they've never seen it before and it's bedtime but too light out to sleep.  We're back in Sweden. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Taste of the Weekend

The past couple of days have been a frenzy of football, festivals, friends and family and since I have to wake up in very few hours to head to the airport, I'm just going to upload a few highlights.  Catch you back in Sweden!
At the Bedford Strawberry Festival.
The final score!
Dinner with Katelyn, Kate, Ali, Dan and Zeynep.
The Swede and I with Cary and Rich.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Who Can Resist a Viking?

Just about two years ago, shortly after I met The Swede, my grandparents told me about Peter Carlsson, a Swedish gentleman in the Cleveland Hiking Club with them.  I met Peter at Grandpa Bob's 80th birthday party that summer and he gave me some help in pronouncing The Swede's name.  (No, "The Swede" is not his real name.  Sorry to have misled you.)  I didn't meet Peter's American wife Meryl at the time, but the stars aligned today to get these two Swedish-American couples together all in one place for a cool bi-lingual meet and greet.  Later in the afternoon we spent a couple of hours of this hot, sunny day with my friend Katie, a former colleague from Swagelok, walking around Chagrin Falls. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Should Have Gotten That Mani

My ring was ready to be picked up after being resized today and I'm in love with it.  It's strange to wear anything on that finger, but it feels so cool; like I'm the first girl who's ever gotten engaged.  And because that's how they do it in Sweden, The Swede gets a ring too.  That's right ladies: TAKEN. 

The Maruna Mix

Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins Maruna converged this evening at Mom and Ray's to eat too much pizza and cupcakes and see who could talk the loudest.  It's been a year since I've seen any of these folks and so much has changed in many of their lives, so it was great to get caught up.  Kerry, for example, has joined the Air Force, Kris has become an MMA fighter (turn your volume down and cover the kids eyes for that link) and Marissa has her learners permit.  Only Uncle Larry's jokes have remained unchanged.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Big News at the Blog

Oh, just a little picture of me and my new FIANCE just before he asked me to marry him.  I totally said yes.

Way Out West

Please enjoy a few photos from our grand trip through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota to get to my family in Montana.
Swede, Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, Lincoln.  The shapers of history.
Pop and Rainy in Yellowstone Park.
Hayden, Alana and Aron.  Some of the coolest cats I know with their Sweden hats and Bilar.
Breezey dodging Viking battle axe swings.

The crew waiting for Old Faithful to erupt.
The Swede, Kris, Matt, Aron and Hayden keeping on the pathway just like they were told.
The buffalo in Yellowstone Park pretty much set the speed limit.

Monday, June 7, 2010

It's A'Coming

Where are all the photos from our time in Montana, you ask?  Just you wait.

Meet Me Halfway

Today The Swede and I drove four hours to Cincinnati to meet Selah who had driven four hours from Nashville for a little Mexican lunch and some shopping.  It was so awesome to see her after all this time and it felt like we had never been apart.  And obviously not much has changed because we were both as enthusiastic as ever about browsing around Sephora.  A note:  skip the Temptu Airbrush Makeup System.  Your time and money are better spent on the other glamorous products Sephora has to offer.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Auntie Mara's Been Busy

My apologies for not having posted for a few days.  I've been too busy hugging kiddos to blog.  Back soon, though!