Sunday, October 31, 2010


Insanity.  Total insanity.  That's really the only way to describe the situation at Ullared yesterday.  This is a discount store that is, I would say, at least five times bigger than any Super Wal-Mart you've ever seen and it was packed to the gills with first-weekend-after-payday shoppers.  Mama Swede, Sarianne and I, along with a couple of family friends, hopped on a bus at midnight on Friday and took the six hour trip to go shopping all day.  It was like all of the Target trips I've missed out on in the last sixteen months rolled into one.  And then, at the end, there was an hours-long queue to check out that stretched back into the shampoo aisle, my arch-nemesis, where I anxiously wondered if I had made the right selection the entire time.  I sure hope so because I'm not going to be able to go back any time soon - I'm going to need a long, long time to recuperate.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Office Tailgate

Dudes, it was a roaring success!  Everything came together perfectly, nobody minded the canned chili and the Rice Krispies Treats® were a hit.  Duh.  The team wants to do it every Friday, so, yeah, it'll probably happen again sometime next year. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fat Day Prep

Back when I worked for our company's corporate headquarters in Cleveland, my department used to have what we called "Fat Days".  These were often-themed, potluck-style smörgåsbords of whatever each participant's specialty was that we would graze on throughout an entire business day.  Whilst being productive as ever, natch.  So, as I wanted to bring something to the table at my new office, something besides my terrible Swedish and even worse jokes, I decided that a tailgate-themed fat day would be just the team-building ticket.  (Geez, can I find more ways to use a hyphen in this post?  Annoying!)  So I sent out an email, posted a sign-up (there it is) sheet at my desk and advised that The Swede and I would bring the chili.  Thing is, I can't really make chili.  At least, I've never tried and I'm pretty sure feeding a group of people that you have to hang out with for upwards of 40 hours a week isn't the place to start.  So canned it is.  Felix makes quite a nice chili, so I'm confident that it will get the job done.  If it doesn't they will hopefully be lulled into satisfaction by the Rice Krispies Treats® Effect.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sundbyberg Sunrise

Since The Swede/my ride was home sick I had to take the train to work today.  It was pitch black outside when I left the house, or so I thougt, as when I turned the corner toward the east so that I could see beyond the tall buildings in our neighborhood there was a band of yellow on the horizon.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dramatic Much?

Before - smiling because of the good company, not because I'm wild about my unimpressive hairstyle.
So, let’s talk about one of my very favorite subjects: my hair.  I don’t mind admitting that I think about it a lot.  I mean, A LOT.  Part of the reason I don’t mind admitting this is that I believe most women are this way, on top of which, I believe many women have a lot of their identity tied up into their coif.  That’s why we can cry when we get some bad bangs (hi, Corie), why we can be described by that one physical feature (hi, Selah) and why we can spend hundreds of dollars on it every year (hi, everybody).  I have had very short hair for 8 of the last 10 years and only grew it out for roles when I was acting in college until last spring when I decided that it was time for long hair.  I think part of it was that I felt like I needed to have flowing locks to keep up with the beauties that inhabit Sweden.  And it may have been partly because everyone says that men like long hair and I wanted to make my man happy (of course, The Swede met and fell in love with me when I had short hair, but whatevs).  In any case, it took a year and a half of awkwardness and patience to get here and now all I can stand to do with it is put it in a ponytail.  What a waste.  And when I wear it down I sometimes catch myself in the mirror taking a step forward and may hair blowing behind me because it’s that fine and it makes me feel like the Cryptkeeper.  So after 45 minutes in the hairdresser's chair today the experimentent is over.  P.S. Sweden may very well be the only place in the world you can be in a packed hair salon and no one is saying a word.  Yes, it was an awkward 45 minutes, indeed.
After - not smiling because I look like a goober grinning this close up, not because I'm not
wild about my new, chic hairstyle.

Monday, October 25, 2010


You guys!  Please look at how beautiful the frost on our car this morning was!  Took my breath away.  Took about 18 photos.  Took an American chill pill since we had to get down to business and scrape it off.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Classic TMI

We got a lot done this weekend.  There was the boat yesterday, this morning I raked the leaves around our building with our neighbors while The Swede renewed the finish on our kitchen counter, we cleaned, did laundry and I skyped with Selah and Mom while The Swede played oodles of holes of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 on the PS3.  On top of all that, we were able to begin what I expect will be a several-weeks-long Prison Break marathon.  The Swede has seen every episode, but I'm new to it and definitely intrigued.  So that explains the DVDs in the photo, but how about the cozy pants?  Well, of course I require them for the marathon, but I also wanted to fill you in on a miracle that occured today.  I've had these particular cozy pants for 5 years and I love them.  Not as much as I love my galoshes, but more than I love, say, raking leaves with my neighbors.  Anyway, a couple of days ago The Swede said something hilarous and I, in turn, laughed heartily (this happen often, so you'd think I'd know better) and spilled red wine on my favorite cozy pants.  I knew they were done for, but I put them in the laundry anyway, sans pre-treatment of any kind.  And then, today, they came out of the washer stain free.  I couldn't believe it.  Obviously someone up there wishes for the continued reign of the cozy pants.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Into Hibernation

Since it snowed yesterday it seemed prudent to take the boat out of the water today.  There was a lot that went into this, from picking up the trailer from one location to dragging the boat out of the water to transporting it to an entirely different location.  I guess these guys have been doing this every autumn for many, many years, though, because they worked like a well-oiled machine and we were done in no time. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Early Arrival

The weather guys have been threatening it for a few days now, but it felt so nice out and it's still October, for crying out loud, so I couldn't believe it was true.  Then I opened the curtains today to find a thin layer of snow on the neighbors' roof and the cars below.  And at first it was just a little bit of snow, not even really sticking to the ground, but by the time we headed off to work it was snowing and by the time we got to the office there were the beginnings of snowmen in the daycare yard behind our building.  The Swede thought it would melt by the afternoon and our world would be a big "slush puppy", but I'm not convinced.  Which is a bummer because I haven't even had a chance to put up an fall masthead photo and now it's already winter. 
UPDATE: It's 3 o'clock now and nearly all the snow has melted.  He was right. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Like Mother Like Daughter Like Son

Exciting mail day!  I got a package from my mom and stepdad.  A BIRTHDAY PACKAGE.  My birthday is still two weeks away but, of course, I was dying to open it.  One of the many charming traits I inherited from my fabulous mother is that I can't wait for stuff like this.  Apparently Nelson inherited it as well because when I put the package on the floor to photograph it in better light, the little guy began clawing at it like a maniac trying to get at its contents.  And what contents they were!  In addition to the Funfetti cake and frosting I requested, there were a slew of princess birthday party supplies:  paper plates, candles (I require three packages now!!!), a banner, and more.  And best of all, a birthday princess crown.  Because no matter how many candles your cake requires or how many cat children you're raising, you're never too old for a birthday princess crown.  Thank you, Mom and Ray!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Swank Central

This weekend, when I went into the city, I did a little scouting.  My friend Becca is coming to visit in November (and no, in case you were wondering, I cannot wait) so I'm making a mental list of all of the places I want to take her and all the things I want her to see.  There's a lot of excellent shopping to be done in Stockholm, but one of the places I would not ever recommend is the posh and pretentious Nordiska Kompaniet, at least not for anyone with a moderate salary.  I will, however, be bringing Becca there because it's a lovely building and the atmosphere is not to be missed.  And maybe we'll just have a fika or something.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

American-Style Street Entertainment

Some say America has no culture.  What do you call this, people?  This Native American culture is so engaging that it drew huge crowds on one of Stockholm's busiest streets on Saturday.  Sure, this bit of American culture was systematically all but snuffed out entirely, but still.  And I know that these were Native Americans and not Sweden's indigenous people because the CDs these guys were peddling were titled Indians.  Good to know America's early settlers' ignorance went global.  NOT.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Night Idol Hang

I didn't watch American Idol when I lived in the States so I never really understood why everyone would get so worked up about their favorites, and I guess there wasn't anybody who really lit my fire last season of Swedish Idol because the strength of the devotion I feel toward this girl, Elin Blom, this season has been thoroughly surprising.  Part of it is that she's only 16 years old.  Part of it is her endearing inability to pronounce the "th" sound (Swedes aren't awesome at it, but her first language is Finnish and it is apparently even harder for them.  Not that I'm judging.  I guarantee she speaks fluent English so she's two languages up on me.).  And part of it is that she's just fascinating to look at.  She obviously looks like a star and I think she's quite beautiful, but it's her teeth that really get me.  I'm a teeth girl.  It's like God mixed up her canines and her incisors and it's one of the most interesting set of choppers I've ever seen.  Oh, and she can sing.  If she gets voted off tonight I'll be ticked. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dishpan Hands Up In This

I did dishes three separate times this evening.  Oh, and once this morning.  I think I'm going to need a dishwasher in our next home.  And can we get takeout tomorrow?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I'm Going To Need Those TPS Reports ASAP

Great times at the office today.  The new printer ran out of black ink so we had to change a cartridge for the first time and, boy, lemme tell ya.  The excitement.  No, but really, if you've ever worked in an office you know exactly what I'm talking about.  Things get a little slow and next thing you know a crowd has gathered to watch a routine office supply replenishment procedure.  And guys?  This is not a posed picture.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Friends In High Places

Does that cutie patootie who gets the bouquet at the end look familiar?  She should- it's Petra!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Champions

We have just returned from a fantastic weekend in Leksand with Mama and Papa Swede and family friends Ingvor, Roland, Per and Martina.  We drove up on Saturday morning, moved into our sweet summer cabins and spent the day in a hot tub and enjoying each others company before heading out to see Champions of Rock, an all-Queen concert chock full of well-known Swedish and British musicians.  The show was rockin', my summer cabin bed was, seriously, the best bed I've ever slept in, and the fall colors in Dalarna county were magnificent.  I wish I could have just taken you with me because, wow, what a great time.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Speaking Of Views

I guess you were dying to see the state of our tree, right?  It's been awhile, after all.  Okay, it's just a tree, but can you imagine waking up and opening the curtains and seeing this beaut?  I sure couldn't, until today when I did wake up to this and thought, boy, am I lucky.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Guess That's Why They Call It Window Pain

Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love that I have a job now.  I love all of the things I feel like I don't have to worry about anymore.  Will I be able to get by with my limited Swedish in some workplace?  Will I have to resort to cleaning toilets to get my foot into the job market?  Will I get tired of America's Next Top Model reruns?  Having a job is both a huge relief and a major milestone in my life here and I can't tell you how thrilled I am about it.  But - and there is but one but - I don't seem to have the time to explore as much.  I used to be out and about often in the afternoons, on my own or with girlfriends, and I miss that a bit.  So sometimes I catch myself gazing out the window next to my desk like some sort of caged animal.  A caged animal with a salary, at any rate.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Not Buying It

Well, it's been a few months so Sweden was due for another pastry-themed holiday.  Enter the kanelbulle, the cinnamon roll.  I've been trying to come up with some American food that has the same cultural significance as the kanelbulle but I got bupkis.  This is a food item that Swedes eat ALL THE TIME.  Seriously, all the time.  So imagine my surprise when our office received a fax from a local bakery announcing kanelbulle day since, you know, every day is kanelbulle day.  To me this felt a little like the greeting card and candy people's marketing creation Sweetest Day, just a cooperative ploy by a particular industry to sell more product.  I guess they didn't count on Anna, our colleague in the finance department, making them from scratch for the whole office instead of dumping her hard-earned kronor into the pastry sector.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Just Because It Makes Me Feel Good

Now go watch Babe.

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

I had to disguise it in the pretense of a business activity, but I finally got this guy to eat a meal at Ikea with me.  As you know, we've been renovating the warehouse at work and the project requires some sort of frame to attractively display the labels for each shelf and obviously Ikea would have to be the first place we looked.  The Swede and I headed over on our lunch break and while we had no success in the framing department we had a huge success in the meatball department.  After queuing for what I considered to be a reasonable amount of time to wait for a $2 (!!!) plate of meatballs, mashed potatoes, ligon jam and gravy, but which The Swede no doubt thought was one of the worst waits of his life, we found a quiet spot right by the breastfeeding corner and I enjoyed this slice of paradise.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Despite my general love of autumn, I have found that it is the time of year that I miss home most.  Maybe it's how beautiful Cleveland is in the fall with all of its colorful trees, or the knowledge that I'll soon be missing my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, but I am 100% certain that about 78% of what I miss about fall in the US is Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice Latte.  Seriously, ever single day that I wake up starting from the debut of the Pumpkin Spice Latte till the day it discontinues to make room for the Eggnog Latte, I berate myself for ever having felt so guilty about the indulgence that I didn't drink one every single day that they were in season when I lived in the States.  Then, of course, I move on to scolding myself over the Eggnog Latte, but that's for another day, another season.  I miss the Pumpkin Spice Latte so much that I have required Selah to have them in my honor since I've left (someone I love should be enjoying them, right?) and so much that I Googled recipes for it on my lunch break yesterday and spent a little time translating the spice aisle at the grocery store today.  Unfortunately, I can't seem to find canned pumpkin in Sweden, but I have a bag of Starbucks ground coffee that Mama Swede picked up for me in London and I was able to get my hands on nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice and guess what?  It kinda worked.  Granted, it's difficult to tell exactly how close it is to the real thing when you're not drinking it out of the white paper cup, which I'm convinced has an effect on the flavor and overall experience, but I may just be satisfied.  Nevertheless, you can count on my next trip to America to fall sometime in September.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Daily Damara In Pink

Believe me, it was no easy task selecting the winning post from the thousands of entries in my Blog Post Contest, but here it is, the best of the best, the créme de la créme of guest blog entries, by Sarianne Segersten of Life in Pink:

När jag först flyttade till Söderköping var lugnet väldigt påtagligt, en stor skillnad från "hemma". Folk gjorde sig ingen brådska- på både gott och ont! Om det var bestämt att man skulle komma hem till någon klockan sex så började man inte fundera på att börja klä på sig skorna förrän runt kl sex (gäller dock inte oss familjen Segersten som alltid är punktliga). Tempot är ofentligt, stress tror jag inte ens at invånarna kan stava det finns fördelar också...ingen risk för magsår!

And translated to retain some of its original Swedish humor with help from The Swede:
When I first moved to Söderköping the calm was enormously obvious, a big difference from "home".  People were in no hurry - in sickness and in health!  If it had been decided that you should come to someone's home at 6 o'clock, you didn't start to think about beginning to put on your shoes until around 6 o'clock (excluding, however, the Segerstens who are always punctual).  The tempo is chill; I don't think people around here can even spell the word stress... but there are advantages too... no risk for ulcers!