Monday, February 28, 2011

A taste of Texas

Friday evening we got a bite of Texas. Perhaps this can bee seen as an appetizer to our coming road trip in April. C´s dad had just arrived and was spending the night at our place before they were going to fly off the next morning. We decided to go out and eat and try out one of the restaurants of the neighborhood. There are actually quite a selection of all kinds of places here. You can get anything from sushi to steak. We did not have to walk more than a block before we came to Texas Longhorn as the place was called. It seemed very popular as we stepped in as the place was crammed with people. It had a cozy and nice atmosphere and we decided to wait in the bar for a table.

It turned out we had to wait quite a bit for that table. People were happy and did not want to leave. Even if they had finished their meals they kept ordering more beer so we got stuck in the bar section. It wasen´t too bad at all because there we had a prime position of the kitchen and the cooking or grilling that was done. I enjoyed watching how they were preparing the steaks and putting them on the grill. I had not brought my camera to begin with but decided to run up and get it.

I like those places with open kitchens where you can watch what is happening. It is quite fun to watch what is going on.

We ended up having our dinner at the bar after all. After waiting for about an hour we were just so hungry we did not want to continue to wait for a table. We did get a good meal. I had a chicken fajita and C and his father both got steaks with corn on the cob and baked potatoes.

Yesterday I took a walk around some of the areas around the southern part or Söder as it is called. Living in Hammarbysjöstad has given me the opportunity to explore and familiarize with this part of Stockholm much more. I really don´t know too much about this part of Stockholm as it was a part I did not go to very often before. So I went on a nice walk taking random streets and just seeing where I ended up. Even if the skies were grey I still love the colorful architecture of the city and the old buildings.

I ended up outside a cinema and decided to go in and watch a movie. I saw the movie "127 hours" based on a true story about a guy that is stuck out in the canyon land area of Utah. He ends up having to cut off his own arm to get free and to survive. It is really a grasping story and knowing it is based on a true story makes it even more spectacular. I wanted to see this movie as soon as I saw the preview of it but C did not want to see it so it was the perfect opportunity for me to go and see it. It is a good movie that really gets to you. I recognized the area where it was filmed so much because this is exactly where we were travelling around on our road trip last summer. These are very remote parts of the US and getting stuck out here in any kind of way is very very bad. You sure are in big trouble out here. A truely gripping movie.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Melting away

Yesterday was a nice and sunny day. That feeling of approaching spring lingered in the air. The sun is slowly getting stronger and warmer. I love seeing the snow melt away. C and his dad left for their ski trip in Italy. They will be gone for a week. I miss him already. It feels kind of lonely without him.

Even if the snow started to melt today there is still a long way to go until one can really say spring is here. There is plenty of snow left. I put my rain boots on today. I am really glad I bought them because even if the sun is shining and there is no rain in sight all the melted snow puddles make it necessary to make sure you keep your feet dry.

The kids are still enjoying the snow that is left. I am amazed that they haven´t tired of winter yet. I am so over and done with it. I just hope there won´t come more snow and cold now. They say this has so far been the longest and coldest winter in the last 40 years in Sweden. So will there ever be an end to it?

As I walked down Götgatan in the southern part of the city I witnessed how some heavy amounts of snow slided down from one of the roof tops and came crashing down on the street below. Luckily I was walking in the middle of the street here (that happens to be closed off from traffic) and no one else was walking directly below either. This was a huge amount of snow that came down. At first I thought that perhaps someone was up on the roof shoveling down snow but it was snow sliding down all by it self. This time it all went well as a) there was no one walking directely below and b) it was snow and not ice coming down. There have been incidents of ice that has severely injured people and even killed one or two people. So you really have to be careful and look up every once in a while when you walk around and snow is melting.

Living here in Hammarby sjöstad almost feel kind of living in a ski resort in a way. We live so close to the only ski slope in Stockholm. People come here and travel on the tram with their ski gear daily during winter. You see people on their way to the ski slope wearing helmets and carrying skis. It feels kind of cool and exotic. Makes me feel I am not in Stockholm but somewhere else on ski vacation.

I took this picture when I was on my way to the tram yesterday. It really takes us no time at all to walk to the ski slope.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fredag och fredagstema once again

Friday! Sista fredagen för februari och sista fredagstemat från Annika är idag "När skymningen faller". Jag vill passa på att tacka Annika för riktigt bra fredagsteman. Det har varit jättekul att skriva om allihop och hitta passande bilder.

Det är allt något trollskt och vackert över skymningsljus (men jag tycker också om gryningsljus). Jag älskar färgerna på himmlen och ljuset då kvällen faller.

En kväll på våran gata på Lake Point Vista i Alabama.

Det är också något speciellt att se solen sänka sig ner över horizonten i havet. Det är en perfekt avslutning på dagen och låta sig komma till ro av ljudet av vågskvalp.

Ljuset kan också vara riktigt vackert här i Stockholm om vintern. Då sänker sig skymingen tidigt på eftermiddagen. Dessa bilder är tagna i december och då blir dagarna inte långa.

Men just hav och kvällshimmel är något magiskt över. Här har solen redan sänkt sig ner över horizonten och dykt ner i havet medans det sista blå kvällsljuset dröjer sig kvar. Detta är Mobilbukten och tvärs över bukten ser man staden Mobil med alla sina ljus på andra sidan.

Dessa foton är också tagna på vårat smultronställe nere vid kusten i Alabama. Den lilla staden Fairhope älskade vi alltid att åka till. Här har de speciella båtbryggor med tak som står på pålar i vattnet. Jag har hur många foton som helst tagna på dessa bryggor i olika skymingsljus. Här kunde man sitta länge länge och njuta av havsbrisen och den milda kvällen. Nu kan jag nästan inte låta bli att drömma mig bort dit en stund och sucka lite.

Men ljuset kan vara riktigt magiskt här också som sagt. Älskar när färgerna är riktigt intesiva och det nästan glöder på himelen. Såååå vackert.

Idag får vi besök. C´s pappa kommer för att möta upp med C. Imorgon flyger de ner till Italien och alperna för skidåkning i en vecka. Jag vet att de båda har sett fram emot detta otroligt mycket. Jag hoppas de får det riktigt gott och härligt. Jag stannar hemma och roar mig bäst jag kan här men det ska nog bli bra det med.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Swedish Sweets

Today I had a moment in heaven. I had the most delishious cardamom bun in the whole world. Normally I don't eat sweets during the week at all. I save the sweet moments for the weekend. But I ended up making an exception to my own rule for once. It all started with meeting up with C on our way home from work. I wanted to pass by my favorite bakery in Stockholm which is Vallhalla Bageriet. They bake the best bread ever here! I just, love, love, love their Danish ryebread as well as their walnut bread and their cardamom buns. When I was in Sweden on vacation when we lived in Alabama I always made sure to come here and buy some of that Danish ryebread. I used to buy a big one and slice it up and pack my suitcase with it and take with me to Alabama.

So we were there to buy some of that delish bread. I don't pass by this place very often as it is quite a detour to get here (which I guess is good in many ways). C decided he wanted a cup of coffee and a cardamom bun right away. I said I would not have one to begin with but then I had one bite from C's cardamom bun and I just HAD to have one.

It is strange how something so simple can create such wonderful experience. I felt I was taken to heaven for each bite I took. The only negative thing is that I will always compare my cardamom and cinnamon buns to the ones they sell here and very few others match up to the ones at this bakery. Here they manage to make them soft and chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside. They are just perfect in every way. So I made an exception to my rule as this is far from any kind of everyday experience and happening.

There are plenty of sweets of all kinds sold here in the many bakeries and coffee shops. Macaroons are very popular here. Cupcakes are also growing on the Swedes but still they will have to work on the art part of the cupcakes to reach the beautiful creations that you can find in the US.

At this place I also saw that they were selling these cute small glasses with pannacotta. But something that Swedes are consuming like crazy for the moment is Semlor, buns with cardamom and filled with almond paste and whipped cream. The offical day for the Semla is March 8th but people have started having them ever since the beginning of January.Personally I would much rather have another one of those cardamom buns from my favorite bakery in the whole world.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Trends and fashion

I think Swedish fashion can be really weird sometimes. The thing is that is is really easy to spot what is hot now by just looking at people here in Stockholm. If there is a trend that is hot it is like everyone is into it. If you have no idea what the latest trend in fashion is just head to the closest subway station and ride the subway for a while or have a coffee at some nice coffee shop located on a busy street where many people walk by.

When it comes to eyewear and glases it was C that spotted the new trend first. He asked me one day if I had noticed that everyone was into wearing huge frames. So the next day when I was riding the subway I started to look around and notice he was right. The eyewear frames of the 80:ties seem to be back. People in Stockholm are wearing eyeglases the ones on the pictures below.

Picture taken from the internet
I just don´t feel used to this eyewear fashion yet. I myself think they are too large. I think they are too much 80ties over them. I can´t see myself wearing or buying a pair of glases like these.

Picture taken from the internet

From eyewear fashion to trousers for women. The latest trend is pleated ones. I just don´t know about these. This is also something that I think I will skipp. I think they give your lower body a funny shape. They sort of enhance a muffin top even if you don´t have one. They give you chicken legs and make your ass look big, who would want that? Well call me traditional and old but these two items are not on my list of something that I want in my wardrobe.

Picture taken from the internet

What kind of fashion will you say thanks but no-thanks to? Last Friday I decided to take some time and check out if any spring items had started to appear in stores. I actually did find a real cute blouse. Even if it is way to cold to be able to wear it right away I could not resist buying it so now it hangs waiting for spring in my closet.

I liked the details on the sleeves. I also bought the pair of jeans I am wearing on the picture. So now I am all ready for spring to arrive. Hey spring, where are you ???? Today has been another real cold day. It was clear and beautiful with sunshine so it has been a very pretty day. I could tell it was really cold already by taking the short walk down to the tram. My feet were getting cold even if I was wearing my winter boots. When I got to work one of my collages told me it had been -22 C(-7.6 F). You can tell it is really cold when it almost hurts when you a deep breath of air. Rumors are saying milder weather and warmer temperatures are on their way for the weekend but I believe it when I see it.

Some questions and answers

This Q & A has circulated on several blogs, and I decided to join and fill it out so here goes:

* How old are you in five years’ time?
Ooops I will have passed the big 40 – can that really be correct? That must be wrong or...

* Who was the last person you met?
Actually it was a whole bunch of people, all the people at my spinning class that I went to this evening.

* How tall are you?
162 cm

* Which was the last film you saw?
Saw a movie with Helen Hunt but I don’t remember the name of it.

* Who was the last person you called?
It was C.

* What did your last text message say and to whom?
Hmmm I don’t text that often so I don’t remember. I am too slow texting so I prefer emailing.

* What are today’s plans?
Today was work, then spinning class and then going home to cook dinner and eat dinner.

* Do you prefer to call or send a text message?

I prefer sending a text over calling but I prefer email the most.

* Are your parents married, living together (without being married) or divorced?
Still married (since 1970).

* When was the last time you saw your mother?
This weekend for Sunday dinner.

* Which colour do your eyes have?

* When did you wake up today?
6:20 as usual on workdays. Wishing I could sleep just a little longer as always.

* Have you ever found a cat?

* Which is your favourite place?
Any place that is pretty, where the weather is nice and I am free to enjoy the day as I wish.

* Which is your least favourite place?
Places where you have to wait in line or wait in general like airports, doctors offices, hospitals, cold trainstations and bus stops.

* Where do you think that you are in ten years’ time?
If only I knew! I think about this question very often. I have no idea at all and maybe I am kind of happy not knowing after all. Hopefully somewhere nice where I and C enjoy being for the moment.

* What scared you as a child?
Many things from monsters and ghosts to stomach flu and deadly diseases.

* Who made you laugh recently?
My collage at work , E whom just wanted to inform us that if we were using the phone in the small conference room we should be aware of that the door next to this room makes a weird sound. The person she had just finished talking to had actually asked her if she had problems with gases in her stomach as the door made a kind of farting sound as she put it. So just bear that in mind if you are making business calls from that phone she told us. I wondered if she had just finished a business call still laughing. No she had been talking to her boyfriend.

* Are you too young to own vinyl records?
No but I kind of wish I could answer yes on this question.

* Do you have a laptop or a desk top?
Laptop and love it.

* Do you sleep with or without clothes?
With a short sleeved night gown and underwear. Naked would feel way too cold.

*How many pillows do you have in your bed?
We have three. Two larger memory foam kinds and a regular one. We may be crazy but we even have names for our pillows. The two large memory foam ones are called Skummis and Skumma. The regular pillow I have had for ever and I like it very much but C hates this pillow – his name is Sponge Bob anyhow.

* How many landscapes / regions have you lived in?
Lived in Dalarna, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Egypt, Alabama, Nicaragua.

* Have you ever puked while drunk?
Yes and every time it has been a horrible experience. I hope I never have to go through it again.

* Do you prefer shoes, socks or barefoot?
I like walking barefoot in summer if it is not on gravel. Othewise I love wearing my sneakers but then with socks.

* Are you social?
Yes and no. I have no problems being social and I very much enjoy it but I also need alone time by myself each day.

* Which is your favourite ice cream?
Oh my god do I have to choose? I am a huge ice cream fan and having to choose is almost impossible. Some of my favorites are pistachio, dark chocolate and vanilla.

* Do you like coffee?
Love coffee, could not imagine life without it.

* What do you drink for breakfast?
Coffee on weekdays and coffee and tea on weekends.

* Do you sleep on any special side?
Like to sleep on the side of the bed that is closest to the bathroom as I often wake up once and have to get up to pee. Also I always lie on my stomach when falling asleep anyway. Another funny/crazy thing is that I always sleep upside down in bed. I have my head at the bottom of the bed and my feet up where normal people have their head. I like to sleep opposite to C as I believe that putting this distance away from his head makes me less disturbed by his snoring.

* Do you know how to play poker?

* Do you like to “mysa” (to have a cosy time)?
Yes, who does not? The best is to curl up on the couch with a blanket and watch a good movie or read a good book. I also like snuggling up close to C and reading the newspaper in bed on weekends.

* Do you know anybody with the same birthday as you?
Yes, one of our neighbors in Alabama had the same birthday as I did.

* Do you know any other languages than English (questionnaire was in Swedish originally so the question was ”Do you know any other languages than Swedish?”)
Swedish, English and Spanish.

* Have you ever been in an ambulance?
No, I have been very fortunate so far in my life.

* Do you prefer the sea or a pool?
I love the sea! But I also love swimming with slow strokes in a clear pool.

* What do you prefer spending money on?
Travels, photography, good food, interior design, sportswear.

* Have you ever smoked?
Tried but never liked it.

* What was the last thing you put in your mouth?
Lunch about 8 hours ago so now I am starving and waiting for dinner to be ready.

* Who is the funniest person you know?
C, he can be incredibly silly sometimes.

* Choose a scar on your body?
I have one on my left hand from a plate that fell from a shelf and I tried to catch it as it was falling but it broke then and it cut me. I also have another one from making Swedish Christmas candy. A drop of hot melted sugar dripped on one of my fingers and burnt me. Both incidents happened in our kitchen in the house in Alabama.

* Where was the photo taken for your blog header?
In Monument Valley USA.

* Do you know how to change the oil in a car?
Yes and proud to say so. C has taught me quite some about cars.

* Which was the last book you read?
A book called The last American man by Elisabeth Gilbert (who wrote Eat, Pray and Love). Very interesting book and portrait of a man that lives out in the wild.

* Do you read newspapers?
Yes, on weekends we have a subscription of the daily paper Dagens Nyheter. It is perfect to have a weekend subscription as it is then that we have time to read the paper.

* Do you have a magazine subscription?
Yes, I got one for a nice cooking magazine from my mother as a Christmas present.

* When were you last time in church?
Shortly before Christmas when me and C went to church for a Christmas concert that was really nice.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Spring is still far away

I passed this coffee shop on my way home Saturday and saw all of these strollers parked up front. I had to smile because this sure feel very Swedish. Swedes love taking a "fika" having coffee with some kind of sweet pastry. It is kind of the Swedish snack between meals. The morning fika after breakfast but before lunch and then the afternoon fika after lunch but before dinner. Mothers on maternity leave often meet up with each other at a coffee shop to have a fika with their kids. There are just so many coffee shops here in Stockholm. I wonder if coffee shops are just as popular in other European cities.

Winter keeps holding a firm grip of Stockholm. It is still very cold and even more snow arrived during the night. It has been snowing on and off during the day also. The temperature is around 18 F or -8 C. So I guess it is going to be a while before you can sit outdoors at this coffee shop in our neighborhood.

No signs of spring. I guess it will be a while before any signs of spring arrive. Last weekend the canal was completely frozen but this weekend it seems like they had cracked the ice with one of those ice breaker ships to create a free passage. I still think it looks pretty with all the ice chunks floating around reflecting the sunshine.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Soft Sunday

Söndagen bjöd också på kallt väder men inte lika kallt som i lördags. Det var strålande sol och en klarblå himmel som bara kändes så underbart idag igen. Förutom kylan har det varit toppen väder. Vackra men kalla vinterdagar. Man får bara klä sig varmt så funkar det ju fint.

Njöt av en skön och lång söndag morgon med DN läsning i sängen först. Gillade de vackra iskristallerna som bildats på vårat sovrumsfönster. Vi brukar sova med fönstret på glänt även om det är kallt ute och då bildas dessa vackra snökristaller där varm och kall luft möts.

Började morgonen med att stoppa in dessa i ugnen. De var bara att köra in eftersom jag hade kalljäst dem övernatt.

God och lååång söndagfrukost. Finns inget som slår doften av nybakat bröd då man kliver upp ur sängen.

Vi njuter fortfarande av sådant som kaviar och mejeriproukterna som finns här. Så himla gott!

Fortsatte sedan med att planera road trip i USA. Snart är det inte långt kvar och det var dags att boka inrikesbiljetter, hyrbil och lite hotelnätter här och var. Vissa av ställena i närheten av nationalparkerna Big Bend och Guadalupe Mountains ligger relativt avlägset och är riktiga små ställen så man vill gärna försäkra sig om att man har en säng att övernatta i här ute. Jag ser så himla mycket fram emot denna resa och att få komma till Birmingham och få njuta av våren där samt krama om vännerna.

Vi for sedan till the mall - Sickla Centrum. C ville till sport butiken för att köpa ett par sulor till sina skidpjäxor. Han ska nämligen iväg och åka skidor i Alperna med sin pappa nästa helg. Jag får dock snällt stanna hemma den här gången. Jag unnar honom verkligen denna resa.

Söndag middag åt vi ute hos mina föräldrar som också de snart reser iväg för att hälsa på min bror som bor i Moskva med sin fru och dotter. Vi hade en födelsedagsdpresent till lilla Alexandra som fyller 1 år inom kort. Mina föräldrar ska dit och fira henne. Innan vi lämnade USA hade vi köpt ett jättegulligt överkast som hon får från oss.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Lördag morgon

Det knappt så att jag tror det då jag kolla in temperatur och väder ikonen på min dator. Minus 24 grader en lördag morgon här i Stockholm!!!! Helt sjukt kallt. Det är förvisso klart och soligt ute vilket är vackert men bidrar till kylan. Det blir till att rota fram sina varmaste kläder idag då. Jag blir galen på denna varga vinter. Är sååååå evigt trött på vinter nu. I Alabama kunde man bli trött på sina sommarkläder efter många månader och man ville inget annat än att det skulle komma lite kyla så att man fick sätta på sig lite höst kläder. Här är det precis tvärtom. Här är jag nu sååå trött på alla mina vinterkläder. Jag vill kunna gå ut utan jacka med bara tröja. Jag vill kunna ha mina gympaskor på mig. Jag vill slippa bylsa på mig tjocka tröjor, jackor, och allt vad det är. Sorry, var tvungen att häva ur mig lite.

En fin tröst är att det iallfall ska ätas Hällefilé hemma hos oss ikväll. Ibland behöver man den där vardagslyxen. Nu googlar jag runt på olika recept för att få inspiration. Har du något bra recept eller tips om Hällefilé mottges det tacksamt. Gott ska det bli iallfall.

Till morgonens frukost/brunch blir det nog pannkakor idag. Blev väldans sugen på det efter Petras inlägg här.