Saturday, November 30, 2013

Daily Jamie

What's This About Terrible Twos?

The Swede wasn't home and I had a lot to do to prepare for our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, so I was really counting on Jamie's nap today. It did not happen. That's what I get for bragging about my three hour nap on Thursday, I guess. What did happen, however, is that this tired little fella pitched a gigantic, screaming fit from the moment I opened the front door to the moment this hot dog was in his face. In the parking lot in our neighborhood, ten minutes in the car, the parking lot at the grocery store; if I hadn't kept such superhuman composure I'm quite sure everybody who crossed us would have called BRIS on Jambo's behalf despite my clearly being the one they should feel sorry for. The hot dog did the trick, though (that's my boy!), and soon we were in a great mood and primed to run into Axel and his mom who had just experienced the exact same thing with her wild one. It does a mom's heart good to know that you're not the only one standing there frozen while your toddler writhes, screaming, on the ground.   

Friday, November 29, 2013

Daily Jamie

The Business Cas Fashion Show

Today at work, Linda told me that I over-think my outfits after I told her how a certain top made my head look too small. Like I'm the only one who's ever had that problem. Pssht. But I'm obviously guilty as charged. I mean, it doesn't get more self-involved then a regular series of selfies accompanied by an analysis of each ensemble. Nevertheless... 
I got this dress at H&M for ten dollars to wear on my birthday night out with the girls. It has a really pretty geometric detail in the bodice fabric and the shoulders and sleeves are transparent so I wore my trusty black blazer over it at work. And I'm going to pretend it only looked this short in the picture. Thank goodness for high den tights, know what I'm sayin'?
I loved this outfit, couldn't wait to wear it again the next week, and look forward to wearing it again soon. Those grey jeans have a ton of stretch and I was so comfortable, plus the leopard heels came through as usual, making me feel like a million bucks in the simplest outfit. 
I forget about this sweater, then find it, wear it, and love it, and finally forget about it again.
This outfit, as so many are, was so much better in my head. I'm wild about each piece individually, particularly the faux-leather-sleeved blazer, which I have to force myself not to wear every single day, but something about all of it put together made me feel less fabulous than I had dreamed. And I assure you, I dreamed and dreamed about this one.
This is a special sweater because it has a specific mission, namely to hide my gut after the dinner party we're hosting on Sunday. The extra bit of length, plus slightly short sleeves are just what I like in a sweater and the sparkle provided by discreet silver thread woven into the front (which unfortunately you can't see in this picture) is what holiday gut-hiding sweaters are all about.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Daily Jamie

I'm Thankful For Sleep

Jamie's school has been closed the past two days for a teachers' meeting, so The Swede stayed home with him on Wednesday and I stayed home with him today. I had looked forward to sleeping in a bit, but Jamie woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed long before sunrise. I had a nap to look forward to, though, and was so excited when he dozed off right on schedule in bed with me after lunch. Fast forward three hours and the two of us woke up in a dark house having taken one of the most glorious naps since maternity leave. Happy Thanksgiving to me!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Daily Jamie

At The Movies

While still on our twenty-four hour date last weekend, The Swede and I saw The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It was the biggest theater I've ever seen and it felt like we were at the symphony. We sat in the very back and were, like, half a mile from the screen and it was still gigantic. We were settling in in our pre-booked seats (because that's the way it's done here; there's no just wandering in and flopping down wherever) and the quaintest thing happened: the little old man who had taken our tickets and those of a couple hundred teeny boppers cleared his throat and introduced the movie. He also mentioned that if anyone's cell phone rang they'd stop the movie and have that person removed, which was more threatening then quaint, actually, but aside from that it felt very old fashioned and, frankly, added to the experience. And then two-and-a-half hours flew by in the blink of an eye. In other words, Catching Fire was awesome and you should see it. But only after you've seen The Hunger Games. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Daily Jamie

Clap Clap Clap Clap

On Friday night we went to a Lars Winnerb├Ąck concert, something The Swede has mentioned wanting to do a few times in the past couple of years. He just happened to be on tour this fall and I snatched up a pair of tickets as a surprise. I was too excited to keep it a secret, though, and told him the same day I bought them so we had a long time to look forward to the evening.It was a great concert and I was reminded of something funny about Swedes that I've forgotten to tell you about. Well, actually, it's more that I was confirming again and again, for the sake of science, that it wasn't a fluke. So here it is: you know how when Americans applaude we make sure that we don't clap in the same rhythm as everybody else? In fact, if it starts to happen, I, at least, start to clap faster or slower as needed to make sure the applause doesn't mutate into some distinct and highly uncomfortable rhythm. Well the Swedes love the rhythmic applause and seconds into it they'll all synchronize with one another - we're talking thousands of people! - and clap to the same beat. It is super weird, let me tell you, and there's no rectifying it by clapping at a different pace because then YOU are the one-in-thousands outsider with no sense of rhythm. Sometimes even the most discreet things will put you in your place. Sure, Mara, you may be a citizen of this country, but you dang well don't clap like a Swede.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Daily Jamie

November 22nd
November 23rd
Oops, missed the 24th!
November 25th

Vacation Close To Home

On Friday afternoon The Swede and I snuck out of work a couple of hours early, picked up Jamie from school, and dropped him off with Mama Swede and Julia. We hopped on the train toward the city and ended up at Nordic Light Hotel where one can book a "mood" ahead of time. The Swede had apparently booked romance because we were greeted with a love-themed lighting scheme as well as champagne, fruit, and chocolates. Plus we got breakfast in bed, which was amazing because the ONLY thing I don't like about staying in hotels is the fact that I feel stressed in the morning to make it down to breakfast. And breakfast is obviously non-negotiable. Sure, it's maybe a little crazy that we stay in hotels whenever we go out on a date in our own city, but it doesn't cost much more than the cab ride home and it totally feels like vacation. That, and we're not tempted to do stuff around the house or pick up the laptop or something else distracting. We had twenty-four whole hours to ourselves this weekend - just long enough to start to long for Jamie - but it felt like days, in the very best way.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Ugh, I still can't upload pictures! I have a lot of 'em, too! Sorry, dudes. I'll try again tomorrow from a different computer in case that's part of the problem.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Technical Difficulties

Blogger seems to be a bit broken today and I can't upload pictures. I'd say I'd be back tomorrow, but The Swede and I have a big date, so you probably won't see me around these parts till Saturday or Sunday. Catch you then!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Daily Jamie

November 19th 
November 20th

Where I Was

I've been absent the past couple of days and now I'm too tired because of that absence the write a proper post. Basically I've been working more hours than usual, and harder than usual, but part of that work was going bowling with a group of ten dudes and one fabulous lady as part of a training session my department is holding this week. It was very fun and I loved getting to hang with the customers, my very favorite part of my old job at Swagelok, but I got home many, many hours after my bedtime and can't wait to crawl into bed and make up for it now.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Daily Jamie

November 16th
November 17th


Today, per Jamie's preschool teacher's recommendation, we went geocaching. The Swede downloaded an app on his iPhone and we used a compass to reach, by car and by foot, the top of this nearby hill where someone had hidden a 35 mm film case filled with paper and a small pencil that we could use to log our names and the date. Jamie could give or take the actual treasure hunt (despite my singing the Jake and the Neverland Pirates theme song the entire time) but loved running around in crisp, sunny, now rare daylight. We, on the other hand, were exhilarated and did two more of the park-and-grab variety. These entailed following the compass in the car, parking, and then The Swede sending impossible-to-embarass Mara out into a populated parking lot to wander around with the iPhone, feeling up street signs and fences trying to find a film case or some other waterproof cache. Super fun, guys. We can't wait to do it again.  

Friday, November 15, 2013

Daily Jamie

Erin, Mara, Shaena, and Don

I had the pleasure of hanging with Erin and Shaena yet again this week, namely last night for dinner and a movie. We had Pizza Hut, naturally, and then did some quick tights/jewelry/mascara shopping before arriving just in time to see the trailers ahead of Don Jon, the best movie I've seen in quite a while. I don't know if you're supposed to or not (probably not, actually, since it's a comedy) but it made me cry a few heaving sobs at the end and I can't stop thinking about it. There is a ridiculous amount of sex, so if that's not your thing this isn't the film for you, but otherwise I can't recommend it highly enough.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Daily Jamie

This is a smile, guys.

The Other Swede

It never really occured to me to become a Swedish citizen until I forgot my permanent residence card at home and they almost didn't let me back into Sweden after Selah's wedding, but the customs official at the Stockholm airport planted a seed when he snottily advised me to just get a Swedish passport already. It's been over a year and I found a gap of time  when I wouldn't need my passport and could send it in to immigration and scraped together the outrageous application fee and now I'm a Swedish citizen! I'm still an American citizen as well, of course, but now I can get a Swedish passport that will make traveling and living in the EU easier and now I can vote in national elections. Fun! Plus I have an excuse to buy a cake for a celebratory fika with my colleagues. And isn't finding excuses to eat baked goods just the most Swedish thing of all? I think I'm off to a good start.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Daily Jamie

My Stockholm Ladies

So Saturday night four ladies trekked through driving rain to the city for dinner at Marie Laveau, a New Orleans-style restaurant with amazing onion rings and green beens and awful soft shell crab. Since all but one of us are old, married moms, we headed back to Filipa's place to continue the party at her bachelorette pad in the comfort of our sweatpants.
It was so nice to not have to catch the train to get home at the end of the evening. The only limiting factor to our night of fun was my own tiredness, as I insisted on going to bed even before the six-months-pregnant lady was ready.
Filipa had been raving about the view from the platform atop her building, so on Sunday morning she took Erin and I up there. It was terrifying to climb, like, a thousand year old spiral staircase and then a rickety wooden ladder through a hole in the roof, but once we got up there it was totally worth it. As you can see. 
The view took my breath away and I was so grateful to live in Stockholm and so, so grateful for the wonderful friends I have met here.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Daily Jamie

'Nuff Said

Oh, I had the most incredible sleepover with my girlfriends on Saturday night but all the pictures are on another device, which I left at work. So instead of a long post about how wonderful my ladies are, I'll do this short one about this evening, when The Swede was out with a friend and I watched the latest Downton Abbey in my sweatpants. Okay, that's it. All done. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Daily Jamie

October 8th
October 9th

Swedish Chef

Last night when I came home from work, this was the scene that greeted me. Swoon, right? He had made up a recipe and it was really good. Much better than what I usually deliver, I must admit. But the best part was that he stuffed that towel into his waistband. Somebody's been watching some cooking shows, eh?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Daily Jamie

November 5th
November 6th

Thirty One Started Fun

Yesterday was my birthday and we celebrated with a pizza party at our place with Mama and Papa Swede! Not only was it a pizza party, but also a chocolate cake, champagne, flowers, and presents party. Totally my style, in other words, and the perfect, low-key way to celebrate thirty-one, basically the most low-key age to turn I can think of.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Daily Jamie

The Business Cas Fashion Show

Ugh, dudes, I am so not wild about my cold weather wardrobe. And it's not like going shopping will help, I actually just don't like cold weather clothes as much, period. Except sweats. Just ask my husband, who gets treated to head-to-toe comfies every single moment I'm at home. Good thing we work together or he might think I've given up.  So it took a long, long time, but here are five cold weather outfits that were "worth hanging on the Christmas tree" as the Swedes say.
This outfit is special because my mom and I picked it out together when I was in Cleveland in September. First she picked out and got me the amazing black booties at T.J.Maxx as an early birthday present(this picture does not do them justice since they blend into the tights but trust me, they are really something) then we went to Target and found the dress and tights and styled it all with a blazer in our minds. What do you think, Mom? Turned out pretty nice, right?
Have we talked about black jeans yet? Almost precisely four years ago, on my birthday, I got a some cash kronor from The Swede's folks to go clothes shopping with (hint, hint, recent-expat, those boot-cut jeans are only cutting the boot and nothing else, particularly it) and Sarianne suggested I get black skinny jeans. My American brain told me that black jeans were super 90's, but Sarianne assured me that I'd wear them all the time. "You will not be sorry," I remember her saying as she urged me into the dressing room. I daresay she was right and I have worn black skinnies regularly ever since. They go with everything, especially my denim button-down that also goes with everything, not to mention my sparkly boots that go with everything. The Target t-shirt underneath (kinda) goes with this outfit and (definitely) sweats.
This was a very uncomfortable day. That jeans jacket is waaaaaay too tight, son. I got it about two years and ten pounds ago when I was skinnier than I'd been since junior high from carrying around Jambo all time and its fit was questionable then. I felt like this and there was nothing I could do because the dress is just lace on the shoulders and sleeves and inappropriate for work. So I just didn't move my arms all day. That's problem solving, baby! 
So the next day I wore sweats to work! Well, a sweatshirt anyway. I told myself I had dressed it up and then made sure to mention to everyone who I suspected of even thinking about giving me the stink-eye for wearing sweats to work that I had "dressed it up" (with big, exaggerated air quotes) with heals and a necklace. Mostly I just did the air quotes because it felt so amazing to use my arms again. 
My mom also helped me pick this top from Target. It's a really pretty blue with birds printed on it and I think I'll like it as much when the weather warms up again as I do now.