Best Valborg Weather EVER. Or at least since I moved here. The pasttwo Valborgs were chilly and rainy, at least in the evening when we were outside at the bonfire, but this entire day has been gorgeous and, indeed, hot. Today was also the last day to file taxes so The Swede spent the nicest part of the day doing his while this little lady, who is totally on top of things and filed hers weeks ago, got to go out and play with her little Jamie. Without jackets.
Later in the evening, paperwork out of the way, we took a walk to check out the flames, which, by the looks of things, were not even close to exciting enough for the men in my life. The sun was setting on the way home, though, and that was exciting. Please look at these gorgeous colors! One of the best sunsets of my life, for sure.
It's the long Valborg weekend and we're at the cabin with the world's worst internet connection. It took me far too long to upload today's Daily Jamie to bother with another real post, but I'll be back on Monday with gazillions of adorable baby-eating-leaves-and-sticks pictures. Or at least a couple. Hope you dudes are having a great weekend!
I've been looking at Ikea's "Summer is here!" banners for a few weeks now and every time I see them I want to say, "Gah, Ikea, stick to what you're good at and quit trying to be a meteorologist!" 'Cause seriously, Ikea sucks at predicting the weather. "Spring is here. Kinda." would be much more appropriate, even on a sunny day like this one.
You remember my friend Becca, right? Well, she's a public health expert and works for an organization in D.C. in their immunization division. This is a big week for them because they're working with the Center for Disease Control to promote National Infant Immunization Week. I know this is a hot button issue over there and it may be over here as well and I just haven't bothered to look into it because I already know where I stand. Naturally I want to protect my child from disease and I feel a sense of responsibility to do my part to protect our community as well through vaccinations. I'm therefore very grateful that they are free and available to us here and also for the work that Becca is doing stateside.
Jamie and I woke up early this morning and headed to the far side of Stockholm to visit the U.S. Embassy / World's Ugliest Building. The security at the compound was hard core but we got to stand in a special line for American big shots instead of the long, long line for folks seeking visas. Despite my V.I.P. status, I had to take off my shoes and jacket, surrender all of my electronics and send all of my belongings, my baby, and my person through a metal detector. After that, though, it was smooth sailing. I had to turn in some paperwork to get a Social Security card in my new name so that we can then apply for Jamie's dual citizenship and it went incredibly fast. And, you know, everyone was SUPER friendly and chatty. Prison aura aside, it was totally my kind of place.
We were at the cabin this weekend. It was a pretty typical cabin weekend, except that The Swede was sick as a dog and the weather was (barely) nice enough to be outside for a bit.
Julia took advantage of the mild weather and went hunting for rocks to paint.
We also tested the trikes Mama and Papa Swede brought out to the country for the - ahem - kids with a race down the hill. One obnoxious thing about being an adult is having to let kids win during competitions. If life was fair I would have totally creamed this little moppet.
And then, on the way home, the most exciting thing happened! I was driving while The Swede made his death bed in the back seat when up ahead I noticed some crazy-looking animal in the road. We slowed down to get a closer look at this monstrosity of a grouse and it TOTALLY ATTACKED OUR CAR! I wanted to take a picture, naturally, but I didn't dare roll down the window because this s.o.b. had a murderous look in his eye and actually began pecking at our car. "Drive!" screamed a terrified and feverish Swede, and drive I did until we were far enough out of the bird's 'hood to park the car and check the status of the paint job. No peck marks to speak of. Don't tell The Swede (I'm convinced he just looks at the pictures here) but I kind of wish there had been some damage. That's just more street cred in my book.
With Mom and Ray's arrival only two weeks away, I'm starting to give more serious thought to what I want to show them while they're here. I'm trying to remember what I wanted to see when I visited Sweden for the first time, as well as which places and things I've been most impressed with or surprised by. I know I have the opportunity to show them the best of the best and avoid some of the not-so-pretty, but I'm also trying to remind myself that the not-so-pretty may be pretty interesting to them. Like our town square and train station, for example. Not so quaint, yet Mom and Ray are surely just dying to see where I buy diapers and hop the commuter train into the city. No, nevermind. We'll just spend the week in Söderköping where the real action is.
It's The Swede's birthday, y'all! I bought his favorite store-bought kladdkaka per his request but also decided to bake a coconut cake. From scratch, guys. Nevermind the fact that The Swede doesn't eat cake these days and I'm not entirely positive that he even likes coconut. Listen, everyone needs a birthday cake and if I know he's not going to eat it anyway I may as well bake something I'd like, right? I guess I also don't have to wait for him to cut into this then, huh?
There are these guys in our town square who sell produce and pita bread. I don't know how the pita bread made its way into the mix, but I'm appreciative because I love me a good pita now and then. They've been gone all winter, doing who knows what, and now they're back and I'm thrilled. Their Swedish is even worse than mine and they trip all over themselves to give good customer service, so even if their fruit and vegetables and pita bread was awful, which it's not, I'd still patronize their stand because they're so darn endearing.
We are in trouble, people. A colleague introduced The Swede to the trivia site Sporcle and we're addicted. We spent quite a bit of time this evening shouting out and then typing company logos, movie quotes, and celebrities' names, among other things. The Swede, who takes competition seriously in general, has been training so hard with the fifty states that he can name them all in four minutes and thirty-seven seconds. He had to give me clues on several when I tried it. Not my best moment. At any rate, I totally recommend a little trivia if your baby is asleep or you are otherwise unoccupied.
American flag clothes are kind of a thing over here right now and some of them are even cute. I don't dare buy any of them, though, because it just seems, well, weird for an expat like me to dress in my homeland's flag. This Sweden bikini, however, is totally appropriate and classy on all levels. You can find me rocking this little number on the shores of the Baltic this summer. Okay, I'm kidding. I didn't buy it. But you should know, despite my sarcastic tone I'm kind of in love with it.
Big night in the life of several thousand? a couple million? dudes in Sweden, at least four of whom I know personally. The Ultimate Fighting Championship is in Scandinavia for the first time ever and The Swede and a few of his buddies have tickets. "Aha", you're probably thinking, "so The Swede is one of those guys." Well, I don't know if I'd go that far, but he does have a fair amount of testosterone as you've surely guessed based on those broad shoulders and towering height and anyone with that much manliness just gotsta see some dudes slugging one another from time to time, right? I don't know, really, my sensibilities are much too delicate to understand such things. But anyway, since there's never been any fighting like this on Swedish soil it was an absolute must that The Swede and his buddies be there. Thomas and Petra invited the gang over to get everybody pumped up beforehand, which was, of course, fun for the guys, but also great for me because I hadn't seen Petra in AGES. Dylan is totally a real boy now and Petra is pregnant with their second son, so obviously a lot has been going on in their lives. It was so great to catch up and hopefully we'll see more of each other in the future. And now The Swede is sipping VIP champagne at Globen and texting me all the glamorous details and, while I'm jealous of the champagne part, I don't really mind being at home and cuddling our little macho man while the fists are flying in the ring.
It's as if Mother Nature has me on Google Reader or something. All I had to do was gripe about the lame weather yesterday and she gave me some sunshine and warmth this afternoon. Always liked that broad. P.S. Wondering why the picture is fuzzy? Yeah, sometimes I let the baby slobber on my camera. Somewhere in the Great White North my pops is doing the disapproval face because this is SO not the way he taught me how to care for a camera back in 1996.
Ugh, what a lame, gray day. I keep having to remind myself that it's April, it's supposed to be raining, that's the only way we're going to get any nice flowers and leaves. But all I see when I look out the window these past couple of days is drizzle and me no likey.
About, oh, two and a half years ago, when Daily Damara was approaching its first blogiversary, I got the idea to add a new feature in which I would mention three things that I was grateful for that day. I even got a little notebook to carry in my purse so I could write them down as they occurred to me. Flash forward to last night when the long-forgotten idea was rediscovered by my mind in its pre-slumber race. Just so you don't think I'm even more superficial than you probably already do if you've been around here for awhile, the big things like the safety, health, and happiness of my family and friends, running water, electricity, a roof over our heads, and food on our table, go without saying. Though I imagine food of a more specific nature will be a common motif. So, without further ado, I bring you the inaugural Top Three for April 12th, 2012, in no particular order:
The way my husband looked leaving for work today, dressed up for an important visitor.
Skyping with my mom.
Discovering that the word "echo" makes Jamie crack up.
The suspense is killing you, right? What on earth did the ladies of the house do while the dudes were outside burning stuff on Saturday night? Well, late in the afternoon Sarianne got a call with a request from Aftonbladet, the New York Times of Sweden, to do an interview on buying and selling secondhand goods online. Furthermore, they needed a picture so they were sending a big city photographer out to the country to shoot her. Naturally, we sprang into motion, cleaning the cabin (read: slinging everything we could into the bedroom and locking the door) and primping Sarianne for her photo shoot. I like to think of it as The Moment Mara Finally Got Some Appreciation for Bringing Makeup to the Country Instead of Just Raised Eyebrows. When the photographer arrived, she took a few glamour shots of Sarianne in the front yard, a few of Elin, Julia and her in front of the house and, drooling at the possibility that the camper was secondhand online purchase, dragged the girls to the camper to use it as a backdrop. In all its glory. And then the photographer left and we all waited until morning when the paper would come out and the picture would show up as big as a postage stamp on some page with a triple-digit number. Except get this: later in the evening The Swede opened up his Aftonbladet iPhone app and the article and photo were on the opening page! And then get THIS:
Page ten (double-digits, mind you) held a FULL PAGE ARTICLE with a gigantic picture!!! Sarianne's ego was drunk and disorderly, a bull in the china shop of that evening and the following morning, but I can't say that I blame her. Indeed, even my own ego grew three sizes that day just being in her company and good graces. Thanks, of course, to the makeup.