Wednesday, March 30, 2011
The glut of child criminals in Sweden was made apparent again along this path behind our office building. I'm pleased to report, however, that all the hand-holding, hugging and singing that I witnessed from this particular chain gang proved to me that even the most hardened, corrupt thugs have a soft side.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
I witnessed something EXTRA Swedish this evening, folks. I went into the city to get photos taken for my new passport ('cause, you know, I have a new name) and there was public transport chaos in progress. Apparently there was some problem with the electricity on the subway signals so a large portion of two different subway lines on the north side of the city were closed down, leaving a huge overflow of commuters to the busses. As I approached Central Station to catch the train home I noted that even amidst the pandemonium the Swedes were being their typical, unobjectionable selves and actually queuing at a bus stop. Heaven forbid someone should board the bus ahead of someone else who had been there longer. If that electrical thing doesn't get resolved pronto I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see numbered ticket systems installed in the bus stops just to keep things as fair and orderly as we've all come to expect.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Today I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with my friend Sepideh. We had lunch at Kulturhuset, sat by the window overlooking Sergels Torg and watched the political demonstrations below. It was a reasonably warm, sunny day, plus it's the day after payday so there were tons of people out and about. We fought the crowds to do a little shopping at Gallerian and then went to NK because Sepideh wanted to buy me flowers as congratulations on the wedding and baby. Our schedules don't allow it very often anymore, but I love spending time with this sweet, classy lady.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
totally not possible, though, since we didn't go past first base), I thought my bump was pretty reasonable for five months and some change. Well, whatever it looks like, it feels majorly uncomfortable all of a sudden. And it all started on Tuesday afternoon. I was cruising right along until then and now it's backache city. Good thing there are only three or so months left and it can't possibly get any worse. Heh. Excuse me while I go lie down.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
I'm jealous of my unborn child. That's right. See, yesterday on our lunch break The Swede and I went to Big Baby to order our stroller since it has a long delivery time and I was offered a free box full of goodies for preggos. Or so I thought. At home that evening I tore the lid off and did an inventory of the contents and everything was for the baby except a lousy magazine which I've already read three times in the midwife's waiting room and a sample of stretch mark oil. Um, hello? It says "pregnant" on the box not "baby". I have to admit that two pacifiers, newborn diapers, wipes, washes and lotions galor, a forehead thermometer (humanity has come a long way since 1982), and lots more - ALL FREE! - is pretty sweet, but would a coupon for a massage and maybe some jewelry for the lady doing all the work have killed them?
Monday, March 21, 2011
As I mentioned when we signed the papers, our new home is pretty much perfect for us. Nevertheless, The Swede has dreams of a deluxe bathroom with a jacuzzi, a sauna, a shower with a radio and a port for his iPhone, heated floors, and so on. I don't think I need to clarify that our new home does not have any of these things nor does it have the space required to install them. One can dream, though. Which is just what we did on Sunday at Bauhaus. We strolled slowly through the bathroom department, opening and closing shower doors and ooing and ahing over tubs big enough to host a pool party. The luxury of two bathrooms, which I assure you has not been lost on us, will have to do for now, though.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
We had arranged for the six of us to stay at a hotel overnight so we checked in and gathered for champagne in one of rooms before dinner. And dinner - wow - it was right up my alley. We went to Wallmans Salonger and saw "Thank You For The Music", a tribute to the music of Björn and Benny of ABBA! Just like the ceremony, we didn't know what to expect from the evening, but it tuned out to be perfect.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
My friend Kate and I drove to Nashville to meet my new roommate and visit the Vanderbilt Divinity School campus that same day. I tried to put The Swede out of my mind but then he called. And he kept calling every day, and emailing, and then he bought a ticket to come spend a week with me at my new home in Nashville. We visited Graceland and laid by the pool and went to the movies and watched a couple seasons of Entourage and bought inexpensive American clothes and ate good food. He set up Skype on my laptop and we talked about me visiting him in Sweden at Christmastime. And then he went home and I didn't feel like I'd never see him again this time, but I also knew that it was possible that this long distance, with four months before I'd see him again, may never work. But we kept emailing. We sent each other long messages every single day; if I didn't get an email one day I would have thought he had died, he was that reliable, that trustworthy. He told me he loved me. Despite the huge time difference, we Skyped whenever we could and I cannot begin to explain how important that was. There were times when I missed him so much I felt like I couldn't breathe and then, when I heard his voice and saw his face, I was revived in the fullest sense of the word.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
At Emerson Elementary School in Bozeman, Montana, the 2nd graders celebrated being able to count all the way to 100 with One Hundred Day. I was in Mrs. Pool's class and we were told to bring in 100 of something - anything - on One Hundred Day. Some kids brought 100 pennies, others brought baggies of food like raisins or Cap'n Crunch, but my mom sewed 100 different buttons onto the front of a blue sweatshirt for me to wear that day. Just a little side project while raising 3 kids and studying nursing full-time at Montana State University. And, no kidding, it looked cool. In school on One Hundred Day, when we all gathered on the rug at the front of the room to share with Mrs. Pool and our classmates the 100 things we had brought, I knew in the unassuming way that a 7-year-old experiences pride that my 100-button-sweatshirt was the best. I wore that shirt again and again until I grew out of it and I wish I still had it. So here's to you, Mom, for those 100 buttons, on my 500th blog post.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
The Swede and I have both recently been shopping for some fancy new shoes, having a fancy-shoes-required event coming up and all. We went looking for his on a lunch break and I got some mom practice in, running back and forth between The Swede and the saleslady with different pairs and different sizes. I skipped pinching the toe to make sure there's room to grow, though, since I'm pretty sure he's all done. At least I hope so. Fancy shoes aren't cheap so these need to last. See, I sound like a mom already.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
I didn't mention this in my big travel post from yesterday because it deserves a post all its own. Oh, Arlanda Starbucks, lonely though you may be, you represent your brand so well. I only get to have a Grande Decaf Skinny Vanilla Latte when I fly somewhere, but the three times this year have been such a delight and worth the wait every time. Even The Swede, who hates coffee, agreed that the one I had on Thursday evening while waiting for our flight to take off was a work of art. I am, however, still salty that this is the only location in the entire country, and even saltier that flying directly after consuming my delicious beverage means that I can only enjoy a grande otherwise I'm pretty sure my neighbors on the plane would resent my constant bathroom trips.
Monday, March 14, 2011
I guess I should have mentioned that I was going to be away for a few days, but I always imagine that I may have internet access and the energy to blog at the end of a long day of international superstardom. Alas, I had neither on this past weekend's trip to Switzerland. Our company has a factory in Lachen, which The Swede and the rest of our colleagues visited on Friday after flying to Zurich and spending the evening at the swankest hotel of my life on Thursday night. Two bathrooms, you guys. More square footage than our apartment. We were only in Lachen one night, though, and took a bus up through the Alps to Engelberg on Friday afternoon.
That evening we had a long, lively dinner at a sweet little Swiss lodge whose specialty was a cheese fondue so stinky that its partakers were relegated to an entirely different floor than the rest of the restaurant. The meat fondue, however, was a big hit at our table. As was the ever-flowing wine.
Even after that late night, most of our group was up with the sun to strap on their skis and tackle Mount Titlis. The five of us who didn't ski spent the morning at a reasonable elevation, enjoying the warm spring sun in the valley below.
Later, though, we took the Rotair rotating lift all the way up over 10,000 feet to the peak of Titlis and had lunch at the highest restaurant in Europe. I thought Flat Destini might like it up there too, and she surely didn't have as much trouble breathing the thin air as I did. 'Cause, you know, she has thin lungs. Heh.
We flew home yesterday evening, but not before visiting the cheese factory at the monestary in Engelberg where we endured even more stinky fondue. Made me appreciate bland ol' hushålsost, that's for sure.
It was awesome to get to travel somewhere I've never been before and spend time getting to know my colleagues better. Our flight arrived back in Stockholm after 10:00 last night so we were all incredibly tired at work today, but it was absolutely worth it.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
There are certain foods one is not supposed to eat when with child, all of them delicious and all of a sudden immeasurably more appealing than they ever were before when you could eat them whenever you felt like it. Lucky us whose pregnancies are spanning Lent, making our sacrifices of deli meat, soft cheese, alcohol and juicy, rare steak a given. Sushi, too, is under scrutiny and there's lots of varying information about whether or not it's safe to eat. These days the general concensus seems to be that it's okay if you eat it the same day that it's made, but in case you want to be extra careful you can order "mamma sushi". I've never seen this in the States and I ate a lot of sushi over there but every sushi restaurant I've been to in Sweden has a selection of vegetarian and cooked fish on the menu especially for those of use carrying chopsticks for two. That's Sweden's Japanese looking out for our tiniest citizens.
Monday, March 7, 2011
Of all the reasons a shotgun wedding may not be the most desirable option - no champagne being the most important, obviously - lack of availability of cute bridalwear is seldom mentioned. It should be, though, let me tell you, because there really aren't that many options for the knocked-up bride. Especially if she doesn't want long or white or too formal and the temperature is barely above freezing. So I've been pounding the pavement and placing orders online and having no luck at all. Today, however, a dress that I ordered from Nordstrom in the US arrived and it was exactly what I wanted. I'm so relieved and super pumped to raise a glass in this little number, which you will see more of soon enough.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Everybody knows that Swedish is a silly language. One of the sillier features, in my opinion, is the interchangeable usage and pronunciation of the letters v and w. I'm mystified as to why both are pronounced with the v sound in Swedish (why even have w in the alphabet in that case, am I right?) and never fail to get a chuckle when I hear Swedes pronouncing an English v-word with the w sound. Wiking, for example, or wolleyball. Womit is another of my favorites. Their English is still significantly better than my Swedish, but c'mon, I can't just let it slide. That wouldn't be very American. Anyway, I've grown accustomed to this silliness over the past 19 months, but nothing prepared me for the name of the nail polish I purchased at H&M today. It's called Wawawoom. It took me a second to even figure out just what I was reading and when it hit me it literally took my breath away. Because obviously wawawoom is a far superior word to vavavoom.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Somebody in this family is a champion and his name is The Swede. Today my betrothed woke up early and headed out to the lake to compete in yet another ice-fishing competition and apparently the practice has paid off because he won in his demographic and, even more impressive, beat Papa Swede, Master Fisherman. So along with smelly laundry, The Swede brought home 100 kronor, a medal and oodles of glory. Just one more reason I'm a lucky lady.
Friday, March 4, 2011
If you've ever been pregnant during the internet age, you're probably aware that there are any number of pregnancy websites that will describe, week-by-week, how your baby is developing. Beyond details about organ development and how it's looking (ours has eyebrows now!), the sites often compare its size to that of supermarket produce. So this week, at about 10 inches and 1 pound, Baby Swede is the size of a spaghetti squash. Now, I enjoy a good gourd as much as the next guy, but I don't know a spaghetti squash from a hole in the ground. What I DO know is burritos. I didn't get out a scale or a ruler or anything, but I imagine 10 inches and 1 pound are the approximate specifications of tonight's Serrano burrito dinner. Which means I fit TWO items of those dimensions in my gut this evening and I probably deserve a pat on the back.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
I don't feel like cooking especially often these days, let alone get a hankering to try making something for the first time, so when I got it in my head to try baking biscuits today I figured I'd better go with it. There are plenty of things that biscuits go well with, of course, but they felt like part of breakfast in this case so I picked up some potatoes, eggs and bacon on the way home and fixed a big American breakfast for dinner. The biscuit recipe promised that they'd turn out like KFC's, which I can assure you they did not, but I can also assure you they weren't half bad for my first attempt. And now my conscience is relieved a little if I decide to skip cooking the next couple of dinners.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Hushållsost = household cheese. Like household cleaner or household budget. Something that every household requires that you don't necessarily need specifics on. Maybe I'm the only one who thinks this is funny, that there is apparently not a better way to describe just, you know, cheese. Because that's all hushållsost is, really. Not brie, nor cheddar, nor gouda. Boring, generic and yet something that no household should be without.