Thursday, September 30, 2010

Shining Sonne

Look what we found at the grocery store!  Now I know I can have kids in this country.  You can't raise a kid without Capri-Sun, right?  I almost didn't recognize it with the ridiculous spelling, but there's no mistaking that glorious, gleaming silver pouch.  And if you, too, were wondering, I did the research and they do, in fact, have oranges, lemons, pineapple and snow-capped peaks in Africa.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's Getting Deep Around Here

The Swede taught Nelson how to ride on his back (or perhaps it was the other way around) a while back and the novelty has yet to wear off for any of us.  Bearing Nelson on his back like this is one of the many things The Swede does that puts me in hysterics.  One of the others is when he sneaks in a stealth Blue Steel.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

Well now, let's see.  I could take the stairs or slide.  Gee, which one should I choose?  PSSHT!  Why not just get rid of the stairs entirely since the choice is so obvious.  Oh, yeah.  You need them to get to the top of the slide.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Stairway To Heaven

Guess what?  They're done!  The stairs are done.  Have you ever seen anyone more thrilled than Sarianne to be climbing a staircase?  Or anyone with better posture?  I thought not.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Harvest Season

We woke up on the first day of autumn to the first flowers blossoming from the seeds we planted back in July, which was way too late to plant seeds, I know.  They kind of look like squash flowers, don't they?  Here's hoping.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pie Squared

This is probably my very favorite graffiti that I've ever seen, partly because it's so obvious and yet I've never seen it before and partly because it's given me a golden opportunity to tell you about one of my favorite Swedish words.  "Paj", while spelled totally whack, is pronounced exactly the same as "pie".  How cute is that?  Super duper cute, if you ask me.  Cute as pie, even.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Scenes From My Commute

The weather has been so terribly cold and cloudy and rainy for the past few days that when I get off of the train to switch lines in Karlberg, I just put my head down and make my way to the other tracks.  Today, however, the sun came out and while it was still quite cold, the sunrise illuminated some buildings in the distance that I had never noticed before.  And perhaps the Kodak Easy Share doesn't do the scene justice, but maybe you at least get a feeling of how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful city.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Twelve New Best Friends

Maybe you don't exactly appreciate what you're looking at here and typically I'd feel sorry for you because of that, but in this case it's a good thing because it's sold out and there's a waiting list I don't want you to be disappointed if you never make it to the top like I did, courtesy of my dear friend Selah.  She read about the Urban Decay Naked Palette on my favorite makeup blog Lollipop26, bought one for herself and then found the last one in her city to send to me.  Can you imagine?  What an amazing friend!  I am so excited and a little bit overwhelmed by all the possibilities and I can't wait to do my makeup in the morning.  And I'm sorry if I'm shallow to be this pumped over something like this, but, well, I can't help it!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Just Married

Wondering where I was on Saturday?  Partying it up with these folks, that's where!  Our colleague and friend Linda got married to her sweetheart Daddy on the 18th in Kungsängen and The Swede and I were lucky enough to be part of the celebration.  We cried when they walked down the aisle to a classical version of "My Heart Will Go On", we drank champagne, ate amazing food and danced it up to African music till the wee hours.  Okay, maybe just I cried.  It was my first Swedish wedding and it was Lovely.  Yes, with a capital L. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Democracy In Action

It's election day in Sweden and Mama and Papa Swede are thrilled to be participating in the democratic process.  What's with all the ballots, you ask?  Well, each party gets their own ballot for each of the three elections taking place.  There's a lot of paper involved.  Obviously Miljöpartiet didn't come up with this system.  And where did they get all those ballots?
From this gauntlet of political thugs standing outside the voting location.  Scary!  Otherwise, there is a box with all of the parties' ballots just inside the doors so you don't have to dis anyone to their face by not taking theirs. 
The Swede wore red and blue to vote in honor of the two major parties and also, I think, because he loves America so much.  American women, anyway.  One in particular, if I may say so.  We're watching the results coming in on television right now and even though Sweden allows people to intimidate you outside the polling station, they concur with the States that ballots ought to be secret so I won't tell you what we think of the results.  Besides that it's pretty exciting to watch the whole thing go down.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Today In Politics

Three days until the election and it's all about politics, everywhere, especially, of course, in the news.  As I've mentioned before, with as many parties as there are it's tricky to keep track of the issues and where each party stands.  And since I can't vote anyway, I like to concentrate on the softer side of things.  One party leader, for example, proposed to his girlfriend on television last night.  Even better, some folks from Folkpartiet handed me breakfast when I got off the train this morning.  Yes, Swedes eat crackers for breakfast.  And yes, I am a person who is influenced by free food so I'm pretty sure Folkpartiet would get my hypothetical vote based on this goody bag. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Results Are In

So, my Blogiversary prize drawing wasn't as huge a success as I had hoped.  Bad news for my ego, good news for my two participants, Leslie and Sam, who will BOTH receive a prize.  It's not to late for the blog post contest, though!

All Aboard

I've been taking the commuter train to work for the past couple of days because my carpool buddy/supervisor/fiancé has been at a swanky convention of pillars of the organization in the city.  I like riding the train and I still get that childish sense of satisfaction from navigating my own way on it, but I absolutely hate and fear the platform, the tracks and the trains themselves when I'm not inside one.  When I'm stepping onto one I can't help but envision my foot getting caught in the gap and as I'm standing and waiting on the platform I'm feeling just a bit nervous about how easily some psycho could push me onto the tracks.  The good news is, I'm sometimes irrational.  Still, it'll be nice when I can co-pilot the Audi again.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Falling In Love

It's that time of year again.  The time when my camera seems magnetically drawn to pretty leaves, colorful trees and foliage-covered sidewalks.  When I would give anything for a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte and an afternoon in a bookstore with a magazine full of pictures of beautiful women modeling boots, tights and scarves.  It's the time of year when we drag out the blankies for a cozy evening on the couch and light spice-scented candles and watch all of our favorite TV shows premier.   And it's the time when one feels most grateful for someone to cozy up with.  Nope, nothing wrong with fall at all.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Like It's My Day Job

Now that most of the warehouse floor has been painted, we've begun building up the inventory shelving again.  Lots and lots of inventory shelving.  Good thing I have practice with this kind of thing.  Still, though, I'm pretty sure I'm going to have nightmares of being trapped within rows and rows of shelves.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Having a Whee

Two willing and able men to swing from is basically a little girl's dream.

Back In Time

We were in Söderköping again this weekend to work on the Segersten's staircase and the timing was perfect because the community was hosting the most incredible Medieval fair I've ever seen.  Usually when you see these things, they're in some field somewhere with plenty of room so that they can set up everything to feel like a Medieval city.  The cool thing about this fair, though, is that Söderköping actually is a Medieval city so even the permanent structures were totally legit.  With most of the populace in period dress, wild boar grilling over log fires, sacred and secular music performances and handwork galore, the whole thing was a feast for the senses, for sure   

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Teaching From The Heart

Today was my last day of Swedish for Immigrants and it snuck up on me big time.  Until last week, I expected to be continuing my education at a more advanced level than SFI, but now that I got a job I will chillax with the knowledge that I've learned everything I'm ever going to about the Swedish language.  Until the next time I turn on the TV or someone opens their mouth to speak or I pick up a newspaper or something, that is.  It's plain that I have a long way to go, but I won't deny that it feels like an accomplishment to have finished the course and to know how far my Swedish has come since that first day back in November.  It is a bittersweet day, though, as I had to say hej då to one of my all-time favorite teachers.  I've been very fortunate to have many gifted and accomplished educators in my history and was blessed to have two more this year:  Tanja, who you've seen in prior posts, and Pirkko, pictured with me above.  To me, the best kinds of teachers are the ones who make you try your hardest because you care about them and respect them and don't want to embarass yourself in front of them.  Pirkko is one of those.  She's not only one of the best teachers I've ever known, she is one of the best people I've ever known.  I have looked forward to the days that I have her class and I never went a whole lecture without laughing at least once.  And I'm pretty sure "Today Pirkko said..." is the most common phrase in our household after "Where's my Lypie?!", so the days are going to be a little less colorful now.   

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Suit Up

We're painting the floor of our warehouse at work and floor paint is, you know, super duper toxic so The Swede has to wear this suit while he's getting the job done.  Or should I say GETS to wear it.  Man, the perks this guy gets as the pillar of the organization. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy Blogiversary!!!

Thank goodness these hot air balloons floated by during our dinner this evening because I really didn't know what kind of image to use to mark this momentous occasion.  I was about to bust out some clip art balloons.  Ooh, or maybe create some masterpiece in Microsoft Paint!  Okay, that's for another day.  For today I will have to be satisfied with the fact that all of Sundbyberg is evidently celebrating the Daily Damara One Year Blogiversary.  Exciting right?  Just wait.  There are contests, prizes and heartfelt moments ahead. 

Let's get to the sentimental stuff first and I'll do the contests and prizes in the post below.  So, a couple of days ago Blogger added a statistics function that allows me to see how many people are viewing this site and where they come from, which has been incredibly cool.  I expected America and Sweden, of course, and even Canada, where my pops lives, but apparently I have readers all over Scandanavia, The Netherlands, China, Ukraine and more.  C'mon!  I never expected to have readers, even just folks popping once or twice, who I didn't know, so that feels pretty exciting.  Because really, I began this blog for my family and friends at home because I remember how hard it was to be on the other side of the world from someone I love and how much it meant to me that he wrote to me every day about his daily life.  Daily The Swede, as it were.  After a year I can really appreciate what this little diary has meant to me, how it has made me pay closer attention to my world and marvel at what makes us special as Americans and Swedes and just people.  And I can appreciate what it will mean to me to read about my first year in a new country, on this adventure with my customer-cum-fiancé, and how fun it will be for our children to have confirmation of what big dorks we are on the internet for all time.  But on the days when I don't feel like doing this for myself, when it's hard to think of something to write about, when I can't imagine that anyone would be interested in anything I have to say or anything I've done, I think about the people who I know are regulars here and I sometimes I write straight to them.  To you, rather.  Or sometimes I just think about how Sarianne reminds me that my mom likes her blog better and that keeps me motivated.  I don't mean to make blogging sound harder than it is because really, I think everyone should do this; I do believe it will be one of the most rewarding, meaningful things you've ever done.  So... see you tomorrow!

Contest Time, Baby!!!

So, yeah, I had a year to prepare for this and formulated grand plans months ago and then life suddenly got very busy and September 7th just showed up and I didn't even have time to watch the latest Mad Men let alone come up with creative and exciting contests.  So instead we're going to do this: 

The Random Drawing Comments Contest
Anyone who writes their email address in the comments section of this post through Tuesday, September 14th will be entered in a drawing that will take place on Wednesday the 15th.  The winner of the drawing, which will be officiated by The Trustworthy and Reliable Swede, will receive an email request from me for their mailing address and will be sent a sweet prize via FedEx or UPS or whatever crazy Swedish shipping company they have here.  I'll send it anywhere in the world and I'll even try to make sure it's something that customs isn't going to ransack or seize.

The Subjective Blog Post Contest
Anyone who has the inclination to write a Daily Damara-style blog post with a photo and text describing something special - funny, interesting, unique, whatever - about wherever YOU live, please email it to me at with the subject "Blog Contest" by the end of September.  Please specify whether or not you would like your post to be published here in October and how you would like your by-line to read.  All the posts I get will be judged by my wild and arbitrary standards and the winning writer will receive and even sweeter prize on their doorstep.  C'mon, do it!  It'll be fun!

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Couple of Colleagues

Guess what?  I got a job!  Yeah, The Swede and I are Jim and Pam now and working for the same company again.  Today we discovered that one of the many perks of this new arrangement is that since we get home at the same time we get to make dinner together.  Or, in this case, I get to watch The Swede make a dinner out of the mushrooms we picked yesterday.  I know I've said it before, but am I lucky or what? 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Treasure Hunt

What a beautiful day to be a Swede!  The sun was shining, the air was crisp and the mushrooms were ripe.  The Swede and I went out to the woods with Mama Swede and family friends Ingvor and Roland, who happen to be mushroom experts.  Do not underestimate how important it is to have mushroom experts with you because 95% of those suckers will kill you dead.  Especially the ones that actually look good enough to eat.  The ugly, edible ones, such as the chanterelles we were seeking, may be good in soup, sauces and on sandwiches, but they make terrible Smurf houses.
Oh, and I got to wear my rainboots!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

And The Feeling's Right

My friend Sepideh invited seven ladies from our school over to her place for a some wine, dinner and dancing last night.  It's been nice to see everyone again at school, but this was the first time in many months that we'd all gotten to let loose together.  Needless to say, it was a really nice evening.  Thanks, Sepideh!
Obviously, one of my favorite moments of the night was when we did each other's makeup.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Too Legit To Quit

Dudes.  Please check out my new Swedish identification card.  Sweet, no?  It's all decked out in holograms and other cool security features that I don't know the names of, plus it's equipped with a smart chip so that I can use it to legitimize all of my online financial transactions.  When I get a bank account, that is, which I needed this puppy to attain.  So it's been a good day.  I became more official here, and I got to put my Microsoft Paint skills to good use to throw my stalkerish fans off my scent. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Do Stockholm

The Swede and I were thrilled that one of our wonderful TV friends, Jamie Oliver, came to Sweden to record an episode for his program Jamie Does.  The episode aired a few weeks ago and was fantastic.  It made us feel proud to live here and inspired us to get in the kitchen more and try making some delicious local dishes.  Jamie makes it look so simple, after all.  (As an aside, does the word 'inspire' necessarily signify that we followed through with our motivation?  'Cause we totally didn't.)  Sadly, I was unable to find the whole episode online, but here is the Jamie Does Stockholm page on his website that includes recipes and a how-to video for the Swedish classic pytt i panna.  Which we buy pre-made in the freezer section.  So if you love food and you love Jamie and you love Sweden (or at least think you might based on this sensational blog), give it a little look-see.