18 December, 2010

Signing off...

...'til next year. We leave in 16 hours for Egypt.

I managed to get 90% of my schoolwork and workwork done, so 10% remains for the weekend we get back (and I am more than happy with that.) My husband has managed to stress us both out about every. tiny. detail. to the point that I made him leave the apartment to get a haircut so I could finish up here in peace.
Well, he won't be completely off the hook. He'll have to help me with the bathroom ;) We are renting our apartment out to two separate couples while we are gone, so not only do we have to pack for a range of travel itinerary (leaving frigid 20F weather for a blissful 80F) but we have to leave the place spotless with several piles of clean sheets and towels. But on the upside, renting it out is paying for 1/3 of our trip, so we can't complain too much. And we'll forget all about it when we are hanging out on the Red Sea (not the side with the sharks!) or bumping along on camel back.

Anyway, happy holidays to all our friends and family and all you out in the blog-o-sphere! "See" to you in 2011!

13 December, 2010

Picture post

Sunlight at Stadsbiblioteket

Guzel finally on that Dala horse

Thoroughly enjoying reindeer tunnbrödrullar

This induced a guilty feeling, after eating reindeer rullar


Guzel took great pictures of the city!

3pm at Kungsträdgården?

The iceskating rink

ice in the Helsinki harbor

Snowbanks taller than people!

Funny Finnish words

Tram...the only civilized way to get around Helsinki

Glögi...the sweeter, juicier version of Scandinavian mulled wine

Yup, I bought stuff at the factory's outlet. I have no self-control. I also hit up the Marimekko outlet and did more damage to my wallet...

Just a post full of pictures. The first several are from Stockholm, mostly from the Skansen julmarknad. We also took the boat to Helsinki over the weekend with Guzel, which was fabulous (but for how FRICKIN' cold it was there. Wow.) 
Though we missed quite a weekend in Stockholm, with a terrorist attack just down the road from where we live. Thankfully, only 2 people were injured and we walked down Drottninggatan today, and the only indication that something happened was some remaining police tape.
Now, less than one week until Egypt, and a surprisingly large amount of work before going...

08 December, 2010

Solar halos over Stockholm

 We thought it was just a weird rainbow when we were out today, but in fact, it was an optical phenomenon known as halos, shining over Stockholm. Ice crystals in the clouds filter the sunlight in a way that makes it look like a bubble of light hovering over the city.

From SR

Photo of the halo over Stockholm University campus (Paul Parker)
Also showing this phenomenon is the Vädersolstavlan from 1535. I'll make you read the Wikipedia link yourself for background on the painting, but it is one of the oldest painted depictions of Stockholm, one of the oldest Swedish landscapes and the oldest depiction of the halos.

What a cool thing!

04 December, 2010

Guzel is visiting! It's cold.

So we are drinking lots and lots of glögg.

30 November, 2010

Last week of interning

I just finished up my fall semester internship at Moderna Museet, working within the registrar's department. During the 13 weeks with the exhibitions registrar, among other things, I got to help de-install the big Ed Ruscha show, assisted in this year's Modernautställningen, began helping organize the upcoming Eva Löfdahl, Siri Derkert, and the giant Turner, Monet, Twombly shows, re-learned the TMS database (surprisingly, this was far less painful after library school!) and made some lovely new friends. This is the third internship I have done for school credit, and this was by far the best experience and will take me far in applying for collections management jobs in the future. (And it didn't hurt that they gave me lovely presents on my last day!)

Learning from the master in the galleries

8 sculptures that all looked virtually the same, all were untitled, could not be physically labeled, in which none of the measurements added up, but belonged to several different collectors and therefore, needed to be differentiated. See my ingenious post-it note solution.
 But maybe one of the best things out of this was more short-term. To complete my master's degree in June, I have to write a thesis and curate an exhibition. And I just found out that I got the okay to curate my master's show AT MODERNA MUSEET! I am pretty psyched. It will be lots of work, and I think that next April and May will be the busiest 2 months I have ever experienced in my life, but it will be a fantastic experience. And pretty fantastic to put on the ol' CV, too!

28 November, 2010

We went for a walk

Out in the snow. Lots of kids sledding. (And in such a nice queue!)
And we saw our neighborhood basset hound whom I have to think is the unluckiest dog in Sthlm.

Winter's Here

It's cold. It's moved over into that dry, "so cold it's warm" kind of feeling, in that all the moisture in the air is frozen. But that's only for the first few steps out the door. It is also a keep-moving-or-else kind of cold.

Our high for the week is about -7 C to a low of -13 C. (For all of you playing at home that's 8 to 19 F.)

But we've got bright fluffy snow on the roof tops and there's more gently falling which gives us a quite a snow globe kind of effect. Considering how last winter was it means we're in for a good few weeks or months of bright snow. It's here to stay. We could complain, but this is Sweden, it's kind of what I expected moving here. Nevermind that native Stockholmers are shocked. I had apparently overreacted when buying winter boots in the US (on sale, in July) but now I'm grateful for the over abundance of caution (comes from working in insurance, I guess...). Anyway, the fashionistas in Stureplan can still be seen in little high heeled shoes. I'm surprised I don't see more orthopedic surgeons here. Maybe I don't know the word for it. Ah: it's ortopediska. See how hard it is to learn Swedish!

Apparently, the mercury had better rise or else books will burn... literally. It's one way to keep warm I suppose. But that of course is a subject close to home. Better to use a book to curl up with by the fire.

24 November, 2010

turkey day

I'm supposed to be studying Swedish right now, but instead, I'm writing a blog post about how I am supposed to be studying Swedish. Useful, huh? (We are watching Ondskan, though, which I had to read for Swedish class, so that should count for something.)

I'm really just using this blog post to complain. We are both kinda bummed about Thanksgiving this year.

The holiday is tomorrow, but since we live in a country unfamiliar with pilgrims, indians, overeating and football played with helmets & pigskins, we don't get the day off.  We aren't going home to family in the States. Our friends in Stockholm are having a big ol' American-style Thanksgiving at 3. Our friends from back home are having a big ol' Thanksgiving get-together in Amsterdam this weekend. And we are missing out on all of it! I have to work at Moderna Museet from 9-5, and then run to the university to take a Swedish exam, from 6-9. Stu has his project taking up a full-time schedule now, too. So no turkey for us on Turkey Day this year.

I know I shouldn't complain too much...we had a really lovely Thanksgiving last year, somehow fitting 14 people in our small apartment *and* finding a giant turkey (no small feat here.) But  because we won't even really be celebrating Christmas this year, either (yes, I did just squeeze in another reference to our upcoming Egypt trip) we do wish we had gotten to plan a traditional Thanksgiving.

Anyway, Glad Tacksägelsedagen to everyone! Hope it's safe and happy!

23 November, 2010


Snow-dark-snow-dark, so on, so forth.
That's basically how the days have been passing, not day-night-day-night. It is so dark, from 3:30pm one day until 8am the next. And it is SO COLD in Stockholm right now! There was a warning yesterday for a small winter storm hitting our general chunk of the country, and the weatherperson actually said something to the effect of "Time to put on those gloves and hats!" Really? Just now?!?

I haven't left the house without hats and gloves since the end of September, thankyouverymuch. I sometimes wear them *inside* the house, it's so cold. 
Maybe it's just another showing of how Swedes are hardcore, and I am a wimp.

So, it took me nearly an hour to get home tonight with all the bus delays (and there were airport delays, as well, but apparently not due to the weather but because of illness!) Because the 65 bus never even came to pick up me and the rest of the hoard of people waiting just after 5pm, I walked 2/3s of the way home on the ice. But I got to see the NK windows all done up, which means the holiday season has officially begun! The theme was jultomten in exotic places. One of which was Egypt! That made the dismal, frigid walk home a little more bearable.

Me & Stu on our little magic carpet, flying over the pyramids...and a tour bus?!?
I looked over the last few posts, and realized that nearly every one shown on the homepage of our blog mentions our trip to Egypt. Can you tell I am excited? My life has become measured in the change-over between snow & dark & snow & dark. I'm frickin' excited.

19 November, 2010


And it's nearly dark out. I think winter has officially started, whether or not the calendar actually realizes it. This time in exactly one month, we will have landed in Cairo for the start of our 3 week completely-forget-it's-winter-and-we-really-live-in-Sweden tour. It can't come soon enough...

And I asked Stu to write the next post for the blog while I was busy, hence the near-complete radio silence.

09 November, 2010

Don't call the minister Frodo

First thing's first: holy blizzard, batman!  Today started innocently enough, with just a few more clouds than usual. But when I headed home during rush hour, I was stomping through 3-inch deep puddles of slush in a zero-visibility snow storm, bent over like an old woman to prevent the wind from literally bowling me over. You couldn't see one centimeter of platform space at T-Centralen, there were so many people taking public transportation to avoid the weather.

Anyway, to the post:
Stu and I decided to move to Stockholm from DC in March/April 2009, shortly before Daily Show segment the Stockholm Syndrome was aired (I tried desperately to embed the video, but Blogger was not having it. You'll just have to follow the hyperlink on Stockholm for Part 1 and Syndrome for Part 2.)  We thought it was hilarious, but only recently watched it again after *moving* to Stockholm, with more understanding of some of those things the Wyatt Cenac describes. Even funnier, because they do actually offer massages at Moderna Museet, on Tuesdays!

Another instance, I had NO idea who Leif Pagrotsky was in Part 2. And I didn't even really get why Cenac called him Frodo Baggins in the episode. I just thought it was because Pagrotsky was being kind of a stodgy douche...why not use lovely Swedish women to illustrate the insanity of the Swedish tax rate?!? But he was the Swedish Minister of stuff that included culture until a few years ago. Now, according to Wikipedia, he is apparently advising Greece on how to prevent more financial melting.

So, fast forward to Friday night, when I attended a very Who's-Who-in-the-Swedish-art-scene party at Moderna Museet to welcome the museum's new director. It was fun! The party was sponsored by Absolut Vodka and the food served was part of a relational aesthetics performance piece by an artist (meatballs and spicy noodles?) I had several "Oh My God, that's so-and-so" moments. The Swedish art scene is tiny, after all, but Joseph Kosuth was there!

As was Leif Pagrotsky. I didn't recognize him, really, until I was standing quite near him in the crush of people at the bar greedily awaiting another Absolut cocktail. Which was about when the interview with Wyatt Cenac slowly started replaying in my head, but it wasn't Leif Pagrotsky that I recognized this guy as, it was totally Frodo Baggins. I couldn't think of anything BUT Frodo Baggins!

This guy standing next to me, I have seen him before...what the eff was his real name again?!?

Sometimes words come out of my mouth before the filter kicks in, especially if I have had a drink or two, so I actually repeated in my head several times "Don't call him Frodo, Don't call him Frodo" while standing in line. Not that I introduced myself to him or anything, but did the whole hello & head-nod in recognition thing. How awful that my only knowledge of this apparently well-known and respected man is that he slightly resembles a well-known and respected hobbit. He is not a very tall man. Gah.

That particular drink was my last of the evening. Probably for the best.

04 November, 2010

Checking in with November

I *think* this is the moon in the morning, a shot taken on my way to work at about 9am the other day.  It looked kinda cool. Anyway, I only include it to sort illustrate that today is November 4th and only four days into the month, there have already been far more hours of sunlight than the ENTIRE month of November last year. Sun!
I have read a few predictions about how winter this year will be more brutal than usual (uhh, last year was pretty brutal...it'd be hard to top.) But its a good sign that even if its icy cold out, the sky is blue and there is sunlight.
Speaking of winter and sunlight, we just paid the final chunk on our Egypt vacation yesterday! Of course, now I know I should have paid it all in August when we first booked the thing, since the dollar has just deflated to the point of making me want to cry over the price of godis, making our vacation slightly more expensive than we anticipated. But I digress...3 weeks on the Red Sea, riding camels through the desert, sailing down the Nile, ducking through pyramids, and maybe even eating pigeons! I am so psyched.

28 October, 2010

Donderdag Veggiedag

We're heading to the veggie capital of Europe: Ghent (or Gent, or Gand, even?) for the weekend.

In my mind, Belgium is a quaint and friendly-seeming place, but one that you don't actually know much about. Besides food. Waffles, pommes frites, beer. (no veggies on that list, you'll notice.)
I learned about little old Ghent from art history mostly, and there was a treaty or two signed there. I've never been, or to anywhere in Belgium for that matter. But we're going to visit our fabulous friends Maggie & Greg.

More to report later... 

27 October, 2010

A gang of gypsies bought me lunch today

A gang of gypsies bought me lunch today. Stu thought I should post about it because it sounds funny.

But it's true!

I assisted the curator of photography at Moderna for a few hours this morning with a large collection of photographs from fantastic photographer Anna Riwkin from the 1950s, when she documented the lives of many Roma families in Sweden. A group of Romani reasearchers (Or Zigenare? I know Roma and Romani are not exactly interchangeable, but I'm not sure which they were, hence they will be both) along with some Hungarian visitors were interested in Riwkin's photos because many of the subjects were members of their own families. It was interesting, especially how impassioned a few became with mention of the Holocaust and WWII, and even with their historical portrayal at Skansen in Stockholm. All in Swedish and Hungarian, so even more of a learning opportunity for me.

Anyway, they invited me to lunch after. It was lovely! And no one stole my wallet or jewelry (meant only to joke, not to pervade misconception.)

22 October, 2010

Real snow

It is snowing big and it is sticking. First snow was October 14th last year, according to our blog, so I guess holding out to the 22nd is pretty good, right? Right?

I can't wait for December 19th, when we head to sunny, warm Egypt for nearly 3 whole weeks...

17 October, 2010

First snow

Our first snow of the season was actually in Helsinki. And for the record, it IS only early October. I heard there were flakes in Stockholm, but I'm just going to pretend it was far warmer and sunnier here to make myself feel better about living in generally frigid Scandinavia: it could be worse...it could be Finland. 
(Just kidding. But it was cold.)

But in fact, we DID see snow in Stockholm this weekend. 

They trucked it in and dumped it on the stairs at Sergels Torg in the middle of town. I guess it was a snow boarding demonstration? 
Either way, it counts as the first snow of the season for me. Mostly because its probably still there, since it hasn't gotten warm enough to melt. Welcome to winter in Sweden. Only 6 more months 'til spring...

A few Helsinki pics

It has been my dad's first trip to Europe EVER, so in addition to Stockholm and London, we managed to squeeze in Helsinki with one of those last-minute-super-cheap cruises to Finland Thursday-Saturday. It was our first trip to the city, as well. 

It was frickin' cold. Too cold to take too many pictures. So cold, it snowed, in fact. 
We ate reindeer. We unsuccessfully tried to pronounce Finnish words. We got drunk on the boat. We bought cases of beer and hauled them home.

Now dad is on his way back stateside. Fun trip! 

13 October, 2010

Falukorv: another major Swedish landmark down

Tonight, we made falukorv for dinner.

This giant red curved odd hot dog thing is as Swedish as apple pie is American. I hadn't eaten it (unless you count its presence in pytt i panna) much less cooked it at home, but I thought since my dad is in town, it would be appropriate to try. You know, like we had to try all those other ridiculous Swedish foodstuffs like tunnbrödrullar, salty licorice, messmör and julmust.

It had kind of an interesting story. It is a protected food in the EU, much like Parma or Buffalo mozzarella, and you can't call it "Falukorv" unless it is made like it has been traditionally in the region surrounding Falun in the middle of Sweden. Something about being made with potato flour and a certain percentage of a certain kind of meat. Anyway, the sausage recipe comes from way back in the 1500s, when the copper mines near Falun was slaughtering large numbers of oxen for their hides, to make rope to pull the ore out of the deep mining pits. The meat from the animals was too much for the miners, so they smoked it and it became well-known. And today, its a staple of Swedish school lunches and family dinners.

It wasn't so bad! I quite like sausage (I tried vegetarianism for over a year once, but it was kielbasa I dreamed about and turned me omnivore again!) It isn't exactly like sausage, but like a fat ballpark hotdog. Which would make you think you should just boil it, or bake it, or slice it up and fry it, right? Sadly, I didn't realize that you don't eat the casing until halfway through cooking it, and it would have been far easier to peel that bastard before it was super hot. Oh well. It was a success, and my dad even ate the brussel sprouts I made with it.

12 October, 2010


 We got married two years ago this week!

To celebrate, we're going out to what has become one of our favorite restaurants in Stockholm, Soldaten Svejk (The Czech Soldier.) With my dad.
We are happy he is here for it.

(I know, maybe not as romantic, but our first anniversary had us walking all over Vasastan trying to find Doden i Grytan, only for them to have an hour and a half wait for a table, and the place we ended up at is now out of business, so our standards on "perfect romantic anniversary" aren't so high.)

06 October, 2010

London bound!

We are heading to London tomorrow for a long weekend of sight-seeing, Starbucks and balmy 65-degree weather.*

*We are not actually going all the way to London for Starbucks. I showed my dad our pictures from the last trip, and realized there were about a dozen of me holding Starbucks coffee cups. In front of Big Ben. In front of a church. In the middle of Regent St. Its almost embarrassing.
But there will be sight-seeing and warmer weather.