Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Walking in Cross Country Tracks

So yesterday turned out a bit differently than I expected. My tutor cancelled and I ended up having the entire afternoon to myself. It was such a beautiful day that I couldn't pass on taking Reagan for a nice long walk through the forest trails. Plus, I realized today would be impossible as I had a bank appointment in the city this morning, my tutoring later this afternoon and then a return trip into the city for the Anders Suprise (sounds like a fancy dessert, huh?).

So, at 2pm Reagan and I took off on our forest walk. Like I said, the day was amazing - sunny and crisp with not a cloud in the sky! We took our usual 2KM route through the forest. Now, the only other true winter I have ever experienced was in Boston. That's Boston city - not a suburb or anything like that. I lived in the North End - a very city place to live. So we didn't have a lot of opportunities to get out in the snow and walk through the trails. The only time I even experienced that was in New Hampshire and it was on trails set aside specifically for cross country sking. To walk through the forest with all this snow on the trees and on the ground is an unbelievably calming experience. You hear the crush of the snow underfoot, see the snow falling from the trees as a bird flies off - really, really peaceful. So here we are, walking down the path. I notice on the path that there is one side that isn't being used as much and has what appears to be motorcycle tracks in it. So, being the novice snow/ice walker, I choose this side. Besides, the other side is really "spy ice" - ice covered with snow, trying to be snow but really it's ice and you slip and slide A LOT! As we are walking through the snow, observing nature's beauty, I hear some huffing and puffing coming up behind me. I turn around and see an older gentleman approaching me on cross country skis. Reagan and I step aside to let him go pass and as he gets closer he says something like "bork, bork, bork". I say, in my strongest AMERICAN accent (if you say it with a British accent, they still might misinterpret you and think you speak Swedish), "Sorry?". Without missing a beat, he looks me straight in the eyes, all the while sking, and says "Don't walk in the ski tracks". I immediately respond, "oh, Ok" and keep walking...for a few more seconds...until...OH MY GAWD!!!!!!!! I've been walking for the last 10 freaking mintues through those tracks. In my big ass snow boots my sister bought me specifically for these types of walks. They're like huge, er mostly because I am tall and therefore need big shoes. And here I am, with my freakin' dog, 'clomp, clomp, clomp' all through their precious ski tracks. I wanted to crawl under a rock. Better yet, cover myself with snow. It was horrible. I then also remembered the words in Swedish for "sorry" and "I didn't know" - but the man was far gone and I was too embarassed.

Well, anyone who knows me knows that my karma is not far behind. Now because this was certainly not intentional (although, thinking back I am not sure how I thought those were motorcycle tracks - I mean, there were two tracks, side by side and it was smooth - not jagged like a tire) my karma only punished me a little. You see, as we continued with our walk on the WALKING side of the trail, another man approached us coming the opposite way. I big thing for the older folks (75 year+) is to use cross country ski poles to walk with and this was exactly what this man was doing. Again, Reagan and I go to the side to let him pass, which just happened to be on "spy ice". Actually, this was like "Russian spy ice" because it was a mini pond underfoot that began to crack immediately upon us stepping on it. As he passes us, he says to us something like "bork, bork, bork...". I immediately say "sorry" but he continues with the Swedish. I finally say, in Swedish, "I don't understand. I don't speak Swedish" and then in Engish "I speak English". UH, WRONG!!!!! When, WHEN will I learn to say "Lo siento, yo hablo espanol". The probability of them speaking spanish is way lower than english and then I wouldn't get stuck for 20 MINUTES on RUSSIAN SPY ICE listening to this sweet old man, who probably is just lonely, go on and on about his accordian playing!!! Poor Reagan, at one point I feel something between my legs and look down to see her face sticking out looking at me like "Mom, can you shut this guy up". The whole time he is talking, whistling, etc. about his accordian he is also swing his poles around coming dangerously close to knocking me or Reagan out. Meanwhile, the Russian spy ice is crackling up with laughter under foot. Ah, alas...karma.

After finally pulling away from him, it was pretty uneventful...thank gawd. We did see two deer run in front of us - Reagan wasn't quite sure what they were or what to do but she did pick up on their scent when we got closer to their crossing. When Dad and I would run at White Rock, there is a section near the sailing club that has a ton of squirrels. Reagan loves her some squirrel. One morning, we started running through this area and I swear (Dad will back me up), there had to have been over 30 squirrels running all over the place. I had to stop running, tighten Reg's leash, and WALK through this section. From that point forward it was named "Squirrel Alley". Something tells me that she would be frightened of the deer if we got very close - she generally doesn't like to pick on anything bigger than her (unlike her mom! HA!).

Today is a lot busier (I can all hear your collective sighs - I know, I know but I swear days go by faster when you DON'T work). I've already been into town to add myself to our account. The "funny" bank guy kept joking with Anders and saying that I was going to spend HIS money and did he really want to add me to HIS account. Excuse me JACK A$$?!?!?! Let me straighten you out, for a second, K? Don't worry, Mom - I didn't say any of that. I just politely laughed because I am pretty sure deep down, he knew I could whoop his butt in 2 seconds flat - ha!!!

Hope everyone has a great day and remember - DON'T WALK IN THE SKI TRACKS!!!!!!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Monday Morning

Ah, Monday morning and it is still snowing. I forgot how much I really, REALLY like the snow. Today is is lightly snowing and the sun is shining. It's like tiny crystals are falling from the sky - just beautiful.

This week marks the beginning of the end for me - ha! Now, but seriously, I begin my English tuturing today which happens Monday through Friday from 4pm-5pm. Not bad except that I have recently become addicted to Las Vegas (we just started Season 3 here) and that is on at 4:30-5:30, boooooo hisssss!! Hey, give me a break - at least it is not Oprah.

In two weeks I also begin my Swedish classes. Anders and I tried the other night to only speak Swedish to each other. Needless to say it was a very quiet night. It got to the point that I made a new rule that during the ENGLISH moving Shark Tale, I was allowed to speak English. HA!

This past weekend we got together with the other American/Swedish couples for another game night. Always a good time and it is nice to get to know them a little bit more each time. Sunday, as you saw, was spent enjoying the snow. It is so deep and beautiful - I have to say even better than in Boston mostly because we live outside the city, so it doesn't get as "dirty" as fast. I'll take Reagan out to the forest tomorrow, as it is still snowing today.

As for the rest of the week, not much else going on. Anders has some kind of surprise set up for me tomorrow night - I think this was suppose to happen last Wednesday but something didn't work out. I love surprises and just hope champagne is involved somehow!! HA!


Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Snowy Sunday

Winter has arrived and brought with it almost a foot of snow - LOVE IT. Today we went out with Reagan to the daycare behind our complex and let her off leash. It has a ton of playground area and a fence surrounding the perimeter. I made sure to close and latch all the gates, but Reagan didn't seem to want to run away. She had a fantastic time and wore herself out (as well as Mommy & Daddy). Of course, our camera has now died on us, so until it's fixed you will have to put up with cell phone pictures. Blogger is also acting up and is still only allowing me to post one picture. AAAAHHHH, le sigh.

Hope everyone had a great weekend - I'll update more tomorrow!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

What do you do when you wake up and it is below freezing?!

You make Aunt Willie's Homemade Biscuits!!! And they were damn good too - hope everyone is having a great weekend.

(note to reader: this will not be appearing or be even mentioned on my "healthy" blog, the running gourmande!! ;-)

Monday, January 15, 2007

I might not know a lot

but I do know that this piece of paper is telling me I start my Swedish classes on Monday February 5th. WWWOOOOOOHHHOOOOOOO!!! This is cause for celebration!!!!

*mental note to self: you now only have 3 weeks left of complete and total freedom...ah, bittersweet.*

Could Winter Finally be HERE?!

So yesterday afternoon mother nature decided to pay a little visit in the form of major, hurricane type winds (in the southwest part of Sweden) as well as rain and snow. I remember when I first moved to Boston and one of the girls told me it was snowing outside, and it was dry snow. I nearly fell out of my chair laughing. I remember clearly saying "isn't all snow wet?!?! I mean, it's a form of water, right?!?!" It was only after a few snowfalls that I realized there is a difference in the types of snow. Dry snow is usually made up of those big, fluffy flakes that look like the snowflakes we use to cut out in elementary school. The wet stuff, while good for making snow balls and snow men, is just gross and never coats the ground like a carpet. Last night, it was wet snow. This was accompanied by wind gusts. The gusts must of been at least 30MPHs because at times I thought I was going to be pushed over. This morning, I was really hoping to wake up and see a nice fluffy layer of snow covering the ground like a big shag carpet - nope, not goin' happen. Instead, it's that crappy thin layered berber style carpet and it is sleeting. UH, gross!!!! Guess I don't have any execuses to avoid cleaning the apartment.

Last week was insane for us!!! We spent the majority of it in the house sitting home getting our stuff gathered up and cleaning up as well. We were finally moved back and settled by Friday afternoon. On Saturday, my mother in law closed her clothing store in exchange for retirement. We decided to go down and surprise her and Jan, showing up with additional food and wine. They were so appreciative and completely surprised. I really thought I could remember the code to their apartment but when we got there, it just didn't work. We ended up throwing pebbles at the kitchen window to get Jan's attention but instead he thought it was rain pelting the window and gave an evil, whathafa look out into the parking area. Finally, they saw us and realized what was going on. Funny enough, the code to enter the apartment was the 4th of July!!! What kind of person, especially an American, can't remember that?!?! I kept telling Anders to try 0415 - tax day!!! HA!

Well, I've got to get moving and pack these decorations AWAY!!! What a mess - oh well, I've got nothing but time. Later!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sweet Tooth

Blogger is still acting up again with picture posting so sorry again for the formatting of this post. Just wanted to share with you, though, a couple pictures of the sugar cookies and sand tarts I made for Christmas. Much to my surprise and amazement, shortening is sold here and I was able to make my Aunt Polly's cookies. They were the biggest hit and I credit this to the insane amount of butter and shortening involved in this recipe.

This weekend has flown by and soon we will be back in our apartment. We took a load of stuff home today, just to ease our pain when we officialy move back on Thursday. I'll spend the week picking up the house, making sure we don't leave anything behind. I hope everyone had a nice weekend and is geared up for your first long week again. I remember always dreading this week after the Christmas, New Year's holidays. Speaking of work, still no word from the Täby kommun on when I can start my Swedish classes, so Anders will be giving them a call tomorrow.

Have a great week!!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Who is RG?

Curious? Click here to find out more!

Coming Up Roses

Aren't they beautiful? What can I say, my husband is a romantic. Now most of you may be saying - "so he sent flowers, big deal? I send/get flowers all the time on special occasions". But that is just it - Anders has NEVER sent me flowers in all of our 7 1/2 years together. Not even once. Sure, he's brought home the occasional red rose, tulips but he has never had anything delivered to me. And that is just what makes this even more special and unexpected. Top this off with the fact that he actually picked out these four flowers and you've got a seriously romantic night ahead (swimming in enough sugar, yet?).

After I made my way towards Stockholm, we first went to this restaurant/bar called Gondolen. It is an amazing restaurant as it overlooks all of Stockholm and during this time of year you can really see the lights of the city. After having a couple of glasses of champagne, we headed over to one of our two nostalgic places. The first is a bar we originally went to when I visited Sweden for the first time in 1999. It's changed design, style and crowds quite a bit since then, but it still brings back memories of us sitting down, drinking a beer and trying to find a hotel in Stockholm. After having another glass of champagne there, we headed over to the other memory lane place - the italian restaurant we ate at in 1999. It is still as delicious and authentic as it was in 1999 and we enjoyed ever bite of food. We had such an enjoyable evening filled with really good food, drink, tons of laughter and a lot of ease dropping. Poor Anders, he kept trying to talk to me and all I could do was try and figure out what the italian family next to us was saying. They sit people REALLY close together in restaurants here, especially if you are only 2-4, so it is really hard to concentrate sometimes. What can I say?!?! I am nosey!!

This weekend is our last weekend in the house so I will start gathering up some of our stuff and take it back home. I am sure Kissel is ready for us to come home - yeah, right! Not much else is going on, for the moment. Blogger is really giving me a hard time about posting pictures so until it's resolved, there will be a lot of single picture entries. Sorry!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy 4th Anniversary to Us!

It's hard to believe that 4 years ago on this date Anders and I were married. So much has happened and it still feels like just yesterday when we were saying our "I dos".

Here's to another year and another adventure. We love you ALL!!!
Monica & Anders

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Happy New Year!

Yes, yes - I know, I know. Do I have to start every post by saying that?!?! No, not this year - I am going to live life to it's fullest and not care what other people think. What? What's that? You think I do that anyway? Well you haven't seen nothing yet!!!

But seriously, there are a tons of things to look back on and reflect on in 2006...I know you all can agree with me on that. But why should I? Just to prove I have zero memory left?! No thanks! But what I can say is that Anders and I were super blessed in 2006 and are thankful to all of our friends and family for support. Cheers to you all for getting us through one of the most difficult but rewarding years of our lives.

Life continues to be idylic and peaceful here in the countryside. I say country, because the other night we took the bus into Stockholm and waived it down at least 200 feet from it's stop. When we got on and thanked her for picking us up, she said no worries and that is how they do it in the countryside. HA! I've become a little more adventurous with my daily afternoon walks with Reagan and Allan (the dog I am currently dog/house sitting for). Yesterday we ventured down towards the water and through the most amazing cluster of lake side houses. Today we walked away from the water and through another patch of beautiful homes. We even came across what appears to be a pretty long, FLAT, running trail so Reagan and I will check that out tomorrow.

New Years Eve and weekend we spent lounging around, shopping and just enjoying ourselves with Anders' best friend, Daniel, and his girlfriend, Carina. We cooked a lot, drank a lot and slept a lot. New Years Eve night was incredible. Describing it or even posting pictures (which I have none, by the way - and don't ask why!) would do it absolutely zero justice. Let's just say they sell fireworks here (mostly roman candle type things) in the mall and you can fire them off ANYWHERE. Even in Stockholm!!! The sky/horizon is filled completely with exploding fireworks for as far as your eye can see. The sound of all those going off is a bit overwhelming. Reagan could have cared less and didn't seemed frighten at all. Allan, on the other hand, who has grown up with these things around, spent the evening shaking in the corner of the bathroom. We all felt so bad for him, but there was nothing we could do. Right before midnight we went out to the balcony and just watched. An amazing site that one really should experience!!!

And the reason for the pictures on top? Well, either blogger hates me or this computer at the house sitting house hates me. Anyway, I think you can figure out what is what, but the last picture was taken on our long walk yesterday and I just think it is plain cool.

Happy New Year everyone!!!