26 February, 2011

Off to the store

We're having people over for dinner and to watch Melodifestivalen tonight. What can we say, we've adapted? But accordingly, we're making food for more than our customary two, and had to conglomerate the ingredients with stops to Lidl, ICA, Coop. You know, good value-for-money, and to get us out of the house.

We were in a looooong line in a naaaaaaaaaarrow shop (befitting city living), and so checked out the other people in line. We couldn't help but notice the poor little girl screaming cutely at the top of her lungs. Yes, somehow it's cuter when it's in Swedish instead of our native tongue.
What I found remarkable was her father's response. He calmly walked her back to where she'd found the Pink Unobtainium and made her put it back. I really admired and respected what that took, and thought I'd award him my mental: Parent of the Day. He was like a Zen monk. And she quieted a little as he picked her up.
We had just been talking about parenting at a fika this week, and how sad it is that kids are drowned in presents every Christmas. And I get it, parents get sucked in to it. So this resistant father gets my Tip Of the Hat. My description doesn't give you the sense of the master bargaining skills this little girl was employing, "det är dåligt, snälla snälla snälla...ja vill ha..." but it was impressive. I am a sentimental sort, and I couldn't help but think that although she didn't know it, that little girl had everything she needs.
I guess it's un-Swedish to notice someone else's business in public, but having seen kids get smacked around in stores before, it's nice to see an example of the other side of the spectrum.

Collect 'em all

Yesterday  almost hit 0 degrees, so I went shopping. I bought a dress and tights and a pair of pants, and a completely unnecessary wooden Sweden.

I have a weakness for household items shaped like Sweden. Thankfully, Sagaform fills my weird needs...we own their big Sweden serving bowl (bought that sucker at a second-hand shop for 100:-!) and now, we own the cheeseboard.

I have my eye out for a deal on the Dala horse. I'd love to eat candy out of that guy! And the mini-Sweden serving dish would really just be to complete the set...I'm not sure what it's function would be if I already owned a cute candy dish Dala horse. I use the big one to serve meatballs, of course.

Sagaform Spring/Summer 2011 catalog

23 February, 2011

Picture post

I am supposed to be writing a 7-page paper exploring the possible legal issues in my upcoming graduate exhibition (7 pages!? Legal issues?!?!) Instead, I'm posting pictures of some of the weird stuff we encountered last week.

This guy is strapped in duct tape and bag-in-a-box wine bags, and these people are filling up using his thigh-spout. I think I'd prefer to buy my wine at the bar...

A little meatball wrestling, anyone? I feel it is obvious who would win a meatball-eating contest between a Swede and a Turk.

Some inspiration for my Artists' Books exhibition in May?

I'm more of a shower person, anyway...

I love guerilla knitting!

The handrail on the T-bana. Just in case you needed an invitation? 

Despite the presence of so much thick snow, Swedish dogs have great aim. Still managed to blast the trash can! And I swear, you can't walk 10 meters in this white city without seeing one of these little yellow pee points. I can't believe I took a picture of this.

17 February, 2011

Lappland deep freeze?

So we are planning a trip up to the very tip, top of the country in a few weeks. We fly into Kiruna, spend a night there, a night in Abisko at a national park, and then take the 18+ hour night train back down to Stockholm. We are going to sled with dogs and we are going to have (at least) a drink at the ice hotel, and dern it, we are going to see some northern lights! It may sound crazy in the middle of winter, especially when it has been so cold here, but if Stu and I move away from Sweden at the end of our studies, we might not ever do this again. And I really do think that the even-darker, even-colder north will make Stockholm feel like a southern paradise. It's all about your frame of reference, right?

But I just read an article that they are experiencing *record* cold up there. So cold that the electricity company cannot handle it...-42 degrees celsius (which, by the way, is about the same in farenheit...-40 is where the two meet!) The guy quoted says most people use wood stoves to keep warm. Yeah, with what alternative?!? Succumb to being a popsicle? How the hell does the power company stop functioning? That is their job. And this is Lappland...I get that it is a little colder than usual, but shouldn't they be prepared for that?  This is SWEDEN!

Eh, nevermind, they probably imported the utility equipment from France, just like the rail cars that can't handle Swedish snow.  But the cold weather is supposed to last another few weeks, just in time for us to visit. And thankfully, there will be six of us taking the trip together, so if the power craps out while we are staying up there, there are plenty of people to huddle together with for warmth.

16 February, 2011

the first step

I spent several hours today at the Konstfack library, doing thesis research. I had a synopsis deadline due today, which finally got me moving on writing. Slowly. Sloooooowly. Only a few dozen daunting more pages to go. But seeing this typewriter and motivational quote mounted to the wall outside the art school library helped a bit (even with the typo.)

Only a few daunting more months to go...

13 February, 2011

Were these just left in the hallway?

Pinned to our building's communal bulletin board:

Typical Swedish passive-aggressiveness, or someone's solution to beating the cold?

12 February, 2011

More snow

For the record, Punxatawney Phil's predictions do not apply to Sweden. Maybe that's a no-brainer, but I was really, really hoping that winter was nearly over.

But it came back--we had a giant snow storm start on Thursday afternoon (I wore suede flats to work in the morning...it was a miserable trek home in a half a foot of snow that evening!) Friday, public transportation was an absolute disaster. They canceled all the buses in the city, the tunnelbana was only running through the center, and there were no cabs. Taxi Stockholm was quoting more than an hour wait! I had real snow boots on, but I still had to walk to Moderna Museet from the central station, which is not a short distance.

I am just sick of winter...

10 February, 2011


I met up with a bunch of ladies in Stureplan this evening to plan a "hen" party, or in Swedish, a möhippa.

I have been to American bachelorette parties. I've done the strip club bachelorette party, the bar-hopping bachelorette party, the low-key dinner bachelorette party. And I was once a bachelorette! For mine, I spent the weekend with some girlfriends in NYC.

But I've never participated in the Swedish version. Apparently, it is an all-day affair with the girls. Expensive! And it is all kept a secret from the bride, even the date. The fiancé might make fake plans for the bride so that her friends can surprise her. Depending on the bride, you do something active as a group. Tonight, we mentioned tree-climbing at an adventure park, spending the afternoon at a shooting range, pole-dancing classes, or possibly renting a bakery and taking a lesson in sour dough. The day also includes games, dinner, drinks, dancing and clubs. And sometimes the bride has to sell things to strangers on the street. Yup.

But the most important part of a möhippa is the kidnapping. The bride's friends have to orchestrate an elaborate plan of action, like hiring a firefighter knock on the bride's door, asking her to evacuate because of a gas leak, or something. And then they are waiting outside in the firetruck! (or where ever the elaborate plan of action leads the bride.)  I kind of love this part, and kind of hate it...personally, I don't think I would like the surprise (a girl's gotta know what to wear!) but I think I'd get a kick out of what the group came up with.

We've been invited to several weddings of Swedes this year. I guess that means there could be lots of kidnapping missions in my future...

02 February, 2011


I zoned out on the way to the museum this morning and missed my bus stop. But I saw a lot of water fowl while having to back-track across the ice-slick that is skeppsbro bridge, and I actually had my camera.
How do they survive that water? Don't they know they are supposed to fly south? There are ice chunks the size of small boats floating in there...soooo coooold.

01 February, 2011

Who speaks Swedish anyway?

I realized it has been a few since I posted, but I had no idea what to write about?!? What we are up to? What we have planned coming up? Something totally random?

Currently, I am helping out with a project on postmodernism that involves 1980s Swedish art journals at Moderna Museet (and spent 8 hours today helping an artist make 400 paintings for the project...I have paint in my ears.) I am also supposed to be working on my final exhibition and thesis. It'll happen. I hope.
Stu is busy working full-time at a Swedish company for his capstone project, but he'll be done in 2 months. In fact, he'll be done with a 2-week break right when I will be most busy preparing for my final exhibition presentation, so I need someone to take my husband for that time....anyone want to babysit Stu? Anyone? If he is home with nothing to do, while I have to focus and produce, we might get divorced. Not really, but he could use a vacation then, anyway ;)

We are applying for jobs all over. I see lots of museum/library jobs in the States, but Stu has more options in Europe. So it's a bit of a toss up...I guess we'll take the first thing we get! We are traveling a bit. We are apartment-swapping in London in a few weeks, and are thinking about taking a weekend up to the super-north of Sweden to see the Northern Lights and have dinner at the Ice Hotel (yeah, just dinner...not all that interested in sleeping on a chunk of ice and wolf pelts.) We were invited to a wedding in southern France and one in Tuscany. I love it when people get married in exotic places. And our friends from NYC are coming for a visit in April, which I am *psyched* about! Hmmm...what else?

And for the something totally random...a commercial I really like. Tele2 has a sheep as a gimick because Swedes pronounce the word "cheap" as "sheep". Clever.

Ha. Swedes.