Saturday, June 30

Day 182: All Before Two-Thirty P.M.

After all that talk about rhubarb yesterday I got hungry. So I pulled out the leftover, rhubarb crumble, that I had tucked away in the freezer for a rainy day. It's not actually raining now, it's actually sunny and warm and rather gorgeous out but it was rainy all night and part of the morning, so that counts, right? Anyway, we have some friends coming over soon and I didn't have the energy or time to bake something fresh from scratch but wanted to have something homemade and tasty to offer.

Speaking of tasty I baked some brownies last night for my husband to take with him to work today. Yes, sadly he had to go in to the office on Saturday so I figured brownies would help him and his group get through the day. And it was, of course, a given that we would sneak a couple for dessert before packing them up. I can say however, that eating two, chocolate brownies just a couple of hours before going to bed was not such a good idea. I mean that is the only reason I can think of as to why I had insomnia until nearly two-thirty a.m.

I snuck downstairs to sleep on the couch but that plan failed when the cat followed me down thinking it was play time. Lovely. After trying to ignore the "swish, swish, scamper scamper scamper" sounds of her chasing paper balls, I finally opted to go back upstairs to bed at two-twenty a.m., where I proceeded to fall right to sleep. Five minutes later the alarm went off, or at least it seemed like it. Ugh. Why did I say I would get up and make breakfast? Oh yeah, because my husband had to get up and go in to the office. I could always nap later.

The positive side of all of this was that after I made and consumed some coffee I was wide awake so I decided to stay up and get my day going. The getting up part wasn't so fun but once I was settled into the going part, I managed to get a great deal done. I ironed some clothes, washed and put away three loads of laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, vacuumed the entire house and road my bike into town to register to vote and request an absentee ballot for the presidential election this fall. All before two-thirty p.m.

Another positive bit to the story is that none of our guests were interested in eating the rhubarb crumble. So after I had a slice with lots of vanilla sauce, I put the rest in the refrigerator to enjoy tomorrow. I may even eat it for breakfast. Oh and Pina liked the vanilla sauce too.

Btw, tomorrow is day 183... and you know what that means!!!

Sweet dreams... hopefully.

Friday, June 29

Day 181: Who Has Put Rhubarb on my Purse?

I know I said I would try really hard not to write about rhubarb again but I seriously couldn't resist. The other day while grocery shopping I bought a carton of vanilla, rhubarb (yum!) yogurt, only to come home and discover that I had bought a carton of the exact same yogurt the week before and it was still sitting in the refrigerator unopened. Huh? Luckily the expiration dates were two and three weeks away so I was pretty sure we would get around to eating them both.

Even so, this morning I decided to bring one of the cartons to work so I could eat it with granola or cereal for breakfast during my mornings at work without having to cart it to work each day in a tupperware container. I offered some to one of my colleagues, being sure to point out that it wasn't just regular yogurt, but rhubarb yogurt, which sparked a comment from her (and a lesson for me) about a Swedish phrase she remembered. "Vem har lagt rabarber på min handväska?" Which she said literally means, "Who has put rhubarb on my purse?" However it actually means "Who has run off with my purse?" Seriously. I am not making this up.

I personally wouldn't have a problem with someone putting rhubarb on my purse, as long as it was enough to bake a pie with later, and especially if it was a cute, orange, leather handbag like the one below. I would however, have a problem with someone "sticking iväg," or running off, with my purse. So where did the phrase come from and what does rhubarb have to do with it? Maybe because rhubarb is so delicious and there used to be a problem with rhubarb theft? It's doubtful. But the bottom line is that this new phrase that I learned by hap and chance today has provided me with endless laughter and smiles almost the entire day. That's what I call finding happy. Or maybe it found me?

This photo is compliments of my sister-in-law, Mia, who lives in Gothenburg. I have to tell you the story of how I acquired it. As I sat writing my post I thought it would be really fun to have a photo of "rhubarb on my purse" but I didn't have any rhubarb. (That isn't entirely true but it is mostly true. See the photo and description below). So anyway, knowing that my sister-in-law has tons of it growing right in her yard, I thought I would call and ask her to take a photo of rhubarb on her purse. Right. No, I'm not completely crazy. I called and told her about how I just learned this new, Swedish expression, "Vem har lagt rabarber på min handväska?" to which she laughed and laughed. But the laughing really got going once I made my request. I mean, how many times do you get a call at 8:30 p.m. on Friday night and someone asks you to lay some stalks of rhubarb on your purse and take a photo? Ok, maybe I am completely crazy. But here is the photo. 

So, we actually DID have "some" rhubarb. In the frig. One of my husband's colleagues brought some to him a couple of days ago but as soon as he came home with it, he took it to the kitchen and peeled and sliced it up. Now it is just waiting to be made into something yummy. And yes, I decided to put a piece of peeled, sliced rhubarb on my cat and take a photo. And I don't think I am crazy? What do you think?

Thursday, June 28

Day 180: Half-Way Point, Fart Hinders and Shopping

Another milestone approaches... Just three more days until I've reached the half-way point to my goal of finding something positive or happy everyday for 365 days. I will say that, though old habits die hard, it has been fairly easy to follow my new line of thinking more positively these past few months. The beginning was easy as pie. I was motivated and fired up and raring to go. Then I hit a major fart hinder (fart hinder is Swedish for speed bump and it always makes me giggle when I see signs for them), and after trudging over the rocky terrain for a month or so it gradually became easier again. During my period of rolling over the "fart hinders," there were many days when I felt grumpy and annoyed that I had to find something positive that day. It would have been so much easier to just stay in my funk, wallow in it even. But pulling myself out of it, with even a slight, ray of sunshine, was the best thing I could have done for myself during that time. I found that it really was not that difficult to find one, small, itty, bitty positive or happy thing in the day. And I always went to bed a little happier.

My most recent hurdle to overcome was writing every day for two weeks while we were on vacation and had friends visiting. It wasn't difficult to find something positive during those days, it was just difficult to find the time and energy to sit down and compose something after having such fun-filled days, during which we were on the go constantly. I wanted to just plop down on the couch when we came home, or go to bed even, but there was my commitment calling to me, like the gravitational force pulling the alien back home. However, having made it through those two weeks, as well as through our recent vacation to visit my husband's family on the west coast for four days, I can say that writing every day about discovering positive or happy aspects in that day is now an established habit, that most days I look forward to.

But what I am really looking forward to right now is my next Random Giveaway, which will be happening very soon... to celebrate Day 183 of my 365 day commitment to find something positive or happy every day. So stay tuned and be sure to leave a comment on Day 183's post if you want to be included in the drawing. I will be randomly selecting one person from my happy commenters that day, who will then receive a Happy Package in the mail. Giving presents is nearly as much fun for me as receiving them and I am already chomping at the bit to send the next Happy Package out. I will be going shopping tomorrow (which also makes me happy) to find the components of Day 183's Happy Package.

And as always... Be Happy!

Wednesday, June 27

Day 179: Early Morning Banana Bread

I can't even believe I did it but I am so glad that I did. I got up at six fifteen a.m. this morning to bake banana bread so that my husband and I could each take some to work to eat for breakfast. Awesome, right? It was pretty awesome even if I say so myself and you have no idea how scrumptuli-icious it was! I actually made some not too long ago and, if I remember correctly, it vanished rather quickly. I guess I forgot how delicious homemade, banana bread is. Mmmmm.

Normally bananas don't last long enough in our apartment to be retired into bread. If my husband gets ahold of them they usually end up in the freezer for a future life as a smoothie. Lucky for me, we get a fruit basket at work which has never been completely eaten up in the year and a half that I have been there. So I brought home some over-ripe bananas from work and announced that banana bread was in their near future. This was met with a small shout of joy. Who knew it was so loved? When it came time for baking however, there was a struggle between standing half asleep in the kitchen while trying to measure ingredients, or going to bed, albeit very early. Sleep won. We were both in our PJ's and reading in bed by just after nine p.m. and asleep by ten p.m. It was so nice.

I must say that getting up that early to bake banana bread wasn't half as bad as I thought it would be. Before morning arrived I half thought the banana bread making might have to wait until this afternoon. I am not generally a morning person by nature but I will say that it was really nice to be up so early and have that extra time this morning. Kitty got a little more attention than normal, I was not rushing around like a chicken with my head cut off getting ready for work and banana bread got baked. Maybe going to bed earlier and getting up earlier will become a new habit? We'll see. Perhaps if there's banana bread involved. Nothing like food to motivate me.

Here is the recipe if you are interested. Just click below on "Banana Bread"

Banana Bread

I made a couple of alterations:

I used half regular and half brown sugar
I added an extra banana, mostly because I had four very ripe ones and didn't want to freeze the fourth one
I added two tablespoons of plain, greek yogurt to the wet ingredients

Tuesday, June 26

Day 178: Typesetter's Drawer

The quiet of the apartment after having visitors needs filling. Therefore I am starting to plan some new projects to fill the space. One of these projects will be to sand and then paint, or stain,  the top part of this typesetter's drawer I "acquired" a few months ago. Once it has been renovated I will use it as a shelve to house all of my tiny trinkets and things that bring me joy. I have a few items already waiting to relocate. Things that otherwise disappear in their current surroundings due to their miniature size.

I thought this would also be a fun way to archive all of the places we have traveled to. Many times I want to buy a souvenir from the places we visit but I'm not usually drawn to the traditional, touristy stuff. Sometimes I find a special stone or shell, or maybe a small, ceramic piece made by a local artist, and this shelf will be the perfect place to showcase these items. Most of the slots in the shelf are extremely tiny and I haven't yet figured out how I will incorporate them into my plan. But I do have some ideas.

Having a project to work on, especially a creative one, really makes me happy. But as much as I love having a project, I dis-love (dis-love is stronger than dislike but not as strong as hate, because it is not good to hate) an unfinished project. You know the ones that just hang there in limbo, taunting you every time they cross your mind or you see something that reminds you of them. So next on my list will be to start completing these projects. That will really make me happy. And just to keep myself accountable I will share those with you:

* Finish my wedding scrapbook (Wedding was November 2008)
* Finish the scrapbook I started of my first trip to Europe (Trip was summer 2001)

As you can see I have procrastinated completing these two for quite a while so I think they will be okay  to sit on the shelf a bit longer while I start and finish my typesetter's drawer project.

Monday, June 25

Day 177: To Be Happy When I Grow Up

"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life." 
- John Lennon

What perfect words to start the week. I read this quote for the first time last week and it really resonated with me. I can't say that I felt that way when I was five years old, however. Back then I wanted to be a professional dancer when I grew up. I took ballet, tap and acrobatics and I thought dance was the coolest thing ever. I pretty much danced all the time, even before I started dance lessons. My mom used to take us with her when she went to the grocery store. The grocery aisles were individually monitored by video cameras, with a TV monitor sitting at the front of the store that showed each aisle for thirty seconds or so. The monitor would cycle through each aisle like that over and over. There was one aisle that I could stand in and see the monitor at the same time. I would stand there waiting for my aisle to be on screen and as soon as it was I would start dancing. I loved to see myself on "TV." 

Shortly after my dance fever started my mom enrolled me in classes, which thus began my long love affair with dance. In many ways I feel that dance is synonymous with happy. Dance made me happy when I was doing it and it still makes me happy, when think back on my dancing days as well as when I watch others dance now. 

There is a program on TV now that I really, really love called, "So You Think You Can Dance." It is a dance competition that allows dancers from all over the United States to compete to be America's favorite dancer. There are even dancers from other countries around the world who come just to audition for the show. I have been watching it now for four years and I have to say it gets better and better each year. The dancers are stronger, the competition is more fierce each season and I sit glued in front of the TV watching the dancers with a mixture of awe and envy. Sometimes I even rewind and watch certain pieces several times over. Ah... to be a young dancer again. 

Every now and then I toy with the idea of picking back up my dance shoes. I don't yet feel that I am completely done with dance, but I no longer want to be a professional dancer when I grow up. Now I just want to be happy when I grow up, like John Lennon. I think he and his mother understood life quite well.

Sunday, June 24

Day 176: A Black, Little Kitty Waiting...

A black, little kitty waiting to see us when we came in the door this afternoon was the best thing I saw all day. We were all equally happy to see one another and there was evidence all around of the fun that was had in our absence. We'd hired a cat sitter that we found through Katthemmet, the place from which we adopted Pina, and the cat sitting apparently went very well. Pina apparently had some new toys that we saw scattered around the house. There was a small, furry, grey mouse, a colorful ball and a little, furry, brown thing on the floor in the living room, in hall and in  kitchen. Upstairs we found a box on the floor that was previously on the top of our storage shelves and downstairs the dining room rug was scrunched up and folded over in one corner. Someone had a party while her parents were away.

There was lots of purring and scratching behind the ears, lots of kisses and hugs and following around the house. It was a happy reunion and the unpacking of the suitcases was a total hit. The lids lay open, which created wonderful tunnels to crawl through and explore. She was painfully cute to watch as she played and explored and sniffed to approve what we brought home.

Just now she came to assist me with finishing up my writing for today. After checking out the mini, frog figurines sitting on the desk, that I brought home from our Midsummer celebration, and trying to eat my tiny, angel figurine, we had a nice scratching session and behind-the-ears massage, which included a quick lie down and nap, before she headed off to explore what dad was doing downstairs.

It is amazing what joy this furry, little creature brings into my life. There were plenty of highlights today, with spending our last morning at the summer house in Tjörn with my Swedish family, but coming home to our sweet, little, black, kitty cat was certainly a high point. She has the same calming affect on me as sitting on the rocks at Tjörn and looking out over the sea.

Saturday, June 23

Day 175: Lugn och Ro

There is something that happens to my physical body when I am out in nature. It's like all of my molecules are disassembled and then reassembled so that all of my movements are slower and more deliberate. Everything moves at a peaceful and calm pace. There is no place to go and no hurry to get there. Have you ever watched ants during their work day? They move at a similar pace. Slow and deliberate with no stress or rush.

Lugn och ro, which means peace and quiet in English, is the Swedish expression for this feeling. There is no hurry or deadlines to meet, absolutely nothing that must be done other than eat, sleep and relax. Ok, a bit of cooking and cleaning here and there but out here it hardly feels like work.

If only I could capture this feeling and bottle it to take home with me. Like a magic potion from Alice in Wonderland, I could take a swig when I'm feeling stressed or just need to recall this feeling. In a matter of seconds I could find my stresses shrunk down to a miniature-sized trinket that could then be tucked away in a drawer or box.

But until I've found a way to perfect this idea, I will just sit back and enjoy the "lugn och ro" here at the summer house and try to hold on to this feeling as long as possible.

Friday, June 22

Day 174: Midsummer Dreams

For Midsummer day the weather is very spring-like. Warm-ish but cloudy with a few raindrops scattered here and there. The day began with lots of sunshine and soft, summery breezes so I can't really complain since it could have rained the entire day.

One thing I really love about celebrating holidays in Sweden is the concentration and focus on food. Maybe it's just my husband's family, I'm not sure, but we always eat very well. Lunch turned out to be quite successful with a leek, Karl-Johan svamp (porcini mushroom), shallot, Parmesan cheese quiche and salad, with a cake that I baked yesterday for dessert. There were six of us and we ate everything. I was particularly pleased with the cake, which was made with cardamom, almonds, pears and a "bit" of butter and sugar. It was so moist and rich with the fragrant taste of freshly ground cardamom, a flavor that I have grown very fond of since our move to Sweden. I will definitely make it again.

Now after a nice walk, during which we picked wild flowers and a short, afternoon nap, the real festivities shall shortly begin. Sill (pickled herring), fresh potatoes and schnapps await us, with the most delicious meringue and strawberry cake for dessert. Mums! As they say in Sweden, which means Yum!!!

Despite the weather we have had a wonderful day and evening and now we head to bed for hopefully a night full and heavy with happy dreams. I picked seven different wild flowers to put under my pillow as I sleep. It is a ritual that young women usually do in hopes to dream about the man they will marry. I am hoping instead to dream about a tiny baby that we will perhaps get to meet in nine months. It's probably a long shot but one never knows! I will sleep with that hope in my heart. Sweet midsummer dreams!

Thursday, June 21

Day 173: The Coming of Summer and Earth Men

It's the warmest day of the year so far at a whopping 73 degrees Fahrenheit. The sun is shining brightly and the sky is scattered with big, puffy, white clouds. We are on the bus heading into downtown Gothenburg to have a latte and hopefully a tasty snack at our favorite cafe, da Mateo, before picking up the remaining ingredients for our midsummer lunch tomorrow.

So far today I have baked a cardamom, pear cake and my husband has made vegetarian, (eggplant) pickled herring. All part of our midsummer lunch and festivities tomorrow at Tjörn. If you were wondering, the answer is yes, we are going on a Tjörney tomorrow.

I so look forward to feeling all of my stresses melt away once we cross the bridge to the island [of Tjörn]. It's like magic how it happens, almost like crossing into a parallel universe, where my alternate self lives in the Swedish countryside. I immediately feel more relaxed. Perhaps it is the salt air from the ocean or maybe the wild heather that grows in and around the rocky cliffs. I'm not entirely sure but it is a special feeling that is difficult to describe without experiencing it first hand.

So, off we go to Tjörn tomorrow to celebrate midsummer and the longest day of the year. And even though summer really begins in Sweden after tomorrow, it is somewhat bittersweet to think that the days will gradually become shorter from this point until the winter solstice in December. But that thought is for another day. Today I celebrate the coming of summer, the longest day of the year and eating jordgubbar (it means strawberries in English and literally translates to "earth men" in Swedish) while dancing and hopping like a frog around the midsummer pole. Crazy, I know.

Wednesday, June 20

Day 172: Lady Bug Crossing

Yesterday a lady bug crossed my path. I'm not sure what it was that made me look down as I was rushing out to pick up something for lunch, but I looked down and there she was. Red, shiny and moving in a slow but determined manner. Perhaps she too was rushing out to pick up something for lunch. Contrasted against the faded, grey cement her small, red shell floated effortlessly across the pavement. Her little journey (not to be confused with a Tjörney) sent a cheery hello that brightened my day.

Finding a lady bug is supposed to be good luck and I figure coupled with the bad luck of a black cat crossing one's path, having a lady bug cross my path was like double the good luck. Which makes me wonder... If I have a black cat that is nearly, solid black, with the exception of a single, white hair on her chest, does that also cancel out any bad luck if (or when) she crosses my path (repeatedly)? I'm thinking that, like the lady bug crossing bringing me good luck, having a special, black kitty, with a single, white hair, is bound to be extra, quadruple, good luck. Right?

Tuesday, June 19

Day 171: Go on a Tjörney and Eat Rice

This is completely silly but it makes me so happy and pleased with myself that I have to share it. I made up a new word today. Yes, a new word and that word is Tjörney. It's kind of like journey, only much, much better, though you likely will not find it in Webster's dictionary. I probably need to give you a little background to explain why this new, made-up word has me grinning from ear to ear.

Tjörn, which is an actual place, is an island off of the west coast of Sweden near Gothenburg. My husband grew up in this area and his family spent several summers renting cottages on the island of Tjörn before finally purchasing property and building a cottage of their own. Tjörn is a wonderful, magical place. Just a mere hour's drive from the bustling city, and we find ourselves in a completely, different world. Green pastures and craggy cliffs stretch for kilometers (or miles) to meet the North sea, and all of our troubles and worries simply melt away.

I am not really even sure how I came up with the word but I was sitting at my desk at work this morning daydreaming about our journey to the west coast tomorrow and "Tjörney"just popped into my head. I kind of liked it. It had a certain ring to it and I immediately thought of all of the happy times we've spent on Tjörn at my husband's family's summer cottage.

Making up words is not a common practice but I feel I have to share another story about a made up word, or phrase, that a friend and I came up with when I lived in Los Angeles. We met working at the same restaurant and instantly became best friends. We were very silly together and always had fun and one day we just started saying “gin cow” to one another. I don’t even know where it came from but we would say it to one another before shifts at the restaurant. We decided that it meant “make a lot of money” or “good luck”. Either way we felt that it helped. And it made us laugh so that was a perk. We figured it probably meant something else in Chinese so we didn’t say it too loud for fear that we might be offending someone. 

This was, of course, before the age of Internet and Google and we never even thought to look up the real meaning. Until today. I decided after coming up with Tjörney that maybe it was time to see what “gin cow” really meant. Funny enough, it is Thai and it means “eat rice”. I guess put into context it means to eat or have a meal but the word “gin”means “eat” and the word “cow” means “rice”. I find it particularly amusing that we were telling one another to “eat rice” before heading off to work in an upscale, Mexican restaurant.

So the moral of today’s fortune cookie is that I will go on a Tjörney and eat rice in the near future. It is pretty accurate. You know, those fortune cookies are generally spot on. 

Monday, June 18

Day 170: Monday

Typically I would be annoyed by a rainy weekend followed by a glorious, sunny Monday. I mean, who wants to sit indoors all weekend only to go to work on a lovely, warm Monday and have to sit inside all day? Not me. But for some miraculous reason, today I was not annoyed by it, and I'll tell you why. First of all I woke up extremely groggy this morning but I had no headache. That was a major plus already after having had a three, day migraine the previous days. Then the weather forecast reported a warm, sunny and partly, cloudy day, which meant that a) I would get to ride my bike to work and b) that I could wear a skirt or dress and not freeze to death on my way there. Awesome!

So after I packed my breakfast and lunch I headed down to the garage to get on my bike. Sadly however I discovered that my a-line skirt did not have quite enough a-line for riding my bike, if I want to stay upright all the way to work. So I locked my bike and headed back upstairs to change into my new, stretchy, blue dress. It needed a bit of ironing but who cares. I'd be able to ride my bike and not fall down so that was good enough for me at that point. While I was in the apartment I also grabbed the garage door opener (that I forgot on my first attempt to leave). Oops, we'll just chalk that up to it being Monday.

Unfortunately however, during both of my departures, I still managed to leave my keys to the office at home. Yes, I remembered that once I reached the top of the mörderbacke (murderous hill) that I have to climb to get to my office. It truly was a Monday. Ah well. I called one of my colleagues as I stood waiting in front of the office door and lucky for me she was just a couple of minutes away. Day saved!

Normally heading to work on a gorgeous Monday, following a weekend full of rainy, dull weather, I would be very crabby and not so happy. But being able to ride my bike to and from work today more than made up for it. I road along happy that I was not sitting on the stuffy subway or bus and enjoyed feeling the fresh air on my face. It was almost enough to make me like Monday.

Sunday, June 17

Day 169: Thank God for Stretch Denim

"Be the change you want to see in the world" 
- Ghandi

I was on the bus today on my way to pick up a few early Christmas presents. Yes, I know, disgusting isn't it? I like to start early because I absolutely hate shopping for Christmas presents at the last minute. It also makes me feel like I am not spending as much money if I spread it out a bit. But anyway, back to my story. There I was, riding the bus. It was because I was sitting in a seat that faced backwards that I saw it. The quote above, that is. It was displayed on a flag that was above one of the places of business next to Gamla Stan (the old town area). I'd read it before but seeing it again today affected me in a completely different way. 

Today when I read this quote I felt like I actually am doing what Ghandi suggests. I AM being the change I want to see in the world. In choosing to find happy every day for 365 consecutive days, I am beginning the process for a daily habit that I hope will remain with me for the rest of my life. Being happy is a state of mind and it is also a choice. If everyone of us, all across the world, all across the variety of different cultural views and beliefs, just decided to be happy, to choose happy, the world as we know it would change. It would become a brighter and happier place for all of us.

It doesn't matter what kind of day I am having, I can always find some, small glimmer of happy in it. Some days it is easy and I barely have to make an effort and some days it is like struggling to pull on a pair of jeans that are two sizes too small. But thank God for stretch denim, right? 

So my request to you today is that you also start to be the change you want to see in the world. Start small and remember it only takes that first, small step. The ones after it become easier and easier. Change is not impossible but it does take perseverance. 

Have a happy Sunday!

Saturday, June 16

Day 168: Babajan

Change is good, right? It might be but I don't always like it. Last night we decided to ride our bikes over to one of our favorite, hole-in-the-wall taco places, who's name will remain unmentioned, for a quick, inexpensive bite to eat. My husband wanted to have Indian food but I had eaten it for lunch on Thursday and then I'd eaten the leftovers for lunch yesterday and wasn't really feeling like Indian food for a third time so soon. However, as we were rolling up the street to the restaurant, I was thinking in my head, "I guess we can go for Indian food if it's closed." Now, why would I think that? Premonition, maybe? Because, as it turns out, they were in fact closed. Not closed as in we got there too late, but closed as in out of business. What a major bummer. It was our second favorite taco place in Stockholm and good taco places are difficult to come by in Sweden.

So my husband said, "Well, we can try that place we saw a while back when we were out exploring." Which place was this? There was a vague memory of it in my mind. It was around the corner he thought so I said, "OK." We headed over and found Babajan exactly where we had discovered it back in the fall last year. Babajan is a world, food bar that serves Indian, African and Thai food. It turned out that having dinner there was a great idea, though a bit more expensive than our taco place would have been. We both had the vegetarian thali, which was a plate with an assortment of different dishes, such as lentils, carrot salad, yogurt raita, pappadam and chutney etc. It was delicious!

I love to explore and try new things and Babajan is definitely a place we will be making a return visit to. There are so many restaurants to try in Stockholm and going to Babajan renewed my interest in exploring them. It is so easy to get caught up in going to the same places all the time. It is easy and comforting to return the the familiar, especially when I already know that I like a certain restaurant, but discovering new places does something for my soul. The new restaurants may not always qualify for a return visit but trying new things broadens my horizons and helps me appreciate the places I already know and love. So, thank you Babajan and thank you unnamed, closed-for-business, taco place.

Friday, June 15

Day 167: Wally the Lamb

We planned and planned for our friends' recent visit. Way in advance we knew they were coming and time passed by so slowly as we waited for the day to arrive. Then it came and suddenly time went into fast-forward mode. Next thing I knew we were saying our goodbyes... until next time. It was so much fun having them here. We shared many laughs. We laughed until we cried and then we laughed some more. We rode our bikes, we shopped and then we rode our bikes some more. 

For one of our friends it was the first time for her to travel to Sweden. It was great fun to explore our city from the fresh eyes of someone who has never been here before. And it was really fun to go around and re-discover things for myself all over again as well. It always happens that my favorite adventures are the ones that were mostly spontaneous, or the least planned anyway. It is probably because there is less expectations. You'd think I would learn from this but I still like to plan. 

Something completely unplanned however was discovering two, small gifts and cards waiting for us in the guest bedroom yesterday evening. We all sat in the guest room, me, my husband and our cat, Pina, who by the way, loved our friends so much. She was always in their room with them while they were here so it seemed appropriated that we sat in there to read our cards and open our gifts. Mine was the lovely, little lamb in the photo below. It is a candle snuffer and I think it is so very adorable. I absolutely love it!

During one of the days they were here, we were all in Gamla Stan doing some shopping and looking around and I showed these ceramic, candle snuffers to one of our friends, who I thought would also love them. I don't know how they snuck to pay for it and have it wrapped while we were there, or if maybe they bought it on another day. It was very sneaky regardless. He looks so sweet (I think it's a he) so I named him Wally. Pina really likes Wally too. She licked his nose a few times and tried to eat him. 

Thursday, June 14

Day 166: A Slow Start Back to Work

Today I am happy for having had a slow start back to work. Our friends, who've been visiting from Texas, had to get up very early this morning to get to the airport for a seven-thirty a.m. flight. Ugh. So we got up with them at four a.m. to make coffee and ride the subway with them to central station to make sure they got on the fast train to the airport okay. We came back home at five-thirty a.m. and thought it would be a good idea to go back to bed for a hour or so before getting back up to go to work.

I laid down and closed my eyes thinking I would magically drift right off to sleep. Nope. It took a good twenty to thirty minutes before I fell back to sleep and when I finally did meet Mr. Sandman, the kiss of sleep was so intoxicating that I had a much, more, difficult time dragging myself out of bed when Mr. Alarm went off.

I was still deliriously sleepy when I left for work. And without my keys to the office. Luckily I realized this before I left the garage on my bicycle. By the time I had gone back up to our apartment to get them I thought I'd better send a message to my boss to say that I was on my way. Two seconds after I sent the message my phone rang. My boss was calling to let me know that he would be in Berlin today for a meeting. One of my other colleagues would be in today but after lunch time and my other colleague was on vacation so I had the whole office to myself to settle back in and sort through the piles on my desk and weed through two week's worth of email. 

There is nothing like peace and quiet on the first day back to work after vacation. Normally I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation but today I actually felt relaxed and refreshed. I was able to pace myself and organize my tasks in a leisurely fashion. My brain really liked that. I was able to get through more than half of my pile and all of my emails before the day was done. Tomorrow I hope to get through the rest of the pile and still leave work early at two p.m. (Love those summer hours!)

Wednesday, June 13

Day 165: Under-the-Bridge-in-the-Rain-Picnic

Today was the last day of our friends' visit. Yesterday we planned to go on a boat outing to an island in the archipelago but early this morning we decided we were all too tired to get up early and rush out the door to catch a nine a.m. boat. Instead we decided to lay low and relax around the apartment and go on a bike ride and picnic in the afternoon. I made a pasta salad and some rhubarb saft and one of our friends and I walked down to a local bakery to pick up something yummy and sweet as an after picnic treat.

One thing an old friend taught me years ago when traveling, and it actually applies all of the time, is to not have expectations. To go with the flow and take things as they come. Sometimes easier said than done but in today's case, not having expectations of how the day would go worked perfectly in our favor and, in fact, turned out to offer a fun, if not quirky, surprise.

We headed out on our bicycles with our rain jackets packed, just in case, and our picnic goodies. The sky was fairly cloudy and the weather forecast called for rain at two p.m. but as we left it seemed that the weather gods were on our side. That is until we were twenty-five minutes away. It started to sprinkle. For me, sprinkling is really like not raining. It is more like really, thick humidity. So I was okay with that. But then the sprinkling turning into a shower. We all stopped and put on our rain jackets. And, of course, once we continued on the rain politely stopped. Fabulous!

The riding went on. We stopped for a brief rest at a craggy, look-out spot and decided shortly afterward that we would head back into the city and find a nice spot for our picnic. Ten minutes later it started to rain again. At first it was just a soft sprinkle but then it quickly turned into a minor downpour. Lucky for us we were about to cross under a bridge. We pulled off the trail under the cover of the bridge and while standing there trying to figure out what to do, we decided to have an under-the-bridge-in-the-rain-picnic. How fun and spontaneous! (And by the way, it was two p.m., as forecasted by the weather report).

We unpacked our picnic blankets in an area suspended underneath the bridge. An area usually reserved for the homeless and vagrants but for some miraculous reason, it was clean, free of graffiti and free of people. Sometimes life gives you lemons and a bridge. We had an adventurous picnic in an unlikely spot and we all agreed in the end that it was, in fact, the perfect spot. After our picnic the rain had subsided and we headed home. As we rode our bikes through the puddles the sun decided to come out and we got to enjoy a sunny afternoon after all. A happy day.

Tuesday, June 12

Day 164: That Patch of Happiness

Pure joy. What is pure joy? Seeing a child immersed in an activity that they love with complete disregard for their surroundings, watching a couple newly in love interacting as they walk down the street or sit on a park bench together, sitting out in the middle of nature on top of a mountain or in a forest on a beautiful, warm day and looking out at the sheer beauty of the world, eating that first, ice cream cone of the summer... the list could go on and on.

Life is really too short to feel anything but pure joy. Yes, there are days when I feel sad or lonely or a bit down but the happy days certainly outweigh the low days. I try every day to see the happy and see the joy in my life. It is always there, waiting to be discovered. Sometimes I have to work harder to find it than other days but I am starting to find little tricks for finding it faster. I try not to focus on the negative and that is why I seldom post about the more, difficult days. I figure we all know what those are like. It is finding ways to sneak positivity into the cracks, to shed light into the darkness, that is important.

Is life fair? No. I think about all of the children out there who are born with diseases or life threatening illnesses. Some never make it even into their teenage years. I think about the people who are forced out of their countries due to war or other catastrophes. They are thrown into a new life regardless of wanting it or not. I think about the people who struggle mentally every day to feel good about themselves or their lives for whatever reason. Sometimes the reasons are valid and sometimes they are not. It doesn't matter. Life is still a struggle for them. Life is not always fair. But we are not owed anything either. Life is a gift in no matter what form we have it. Everyone has their struggles and difficulties. It is finding that patch of happiness where we can sit and look around and appreciate all of the blessings we do have and not focus on what is missing.

That patch of happiness for me today is a quiet morning with my cup of coffee. Watching my kitty sit in the window, content to watch the birds soaring in the air, taunting her. Having no where to be and no hurry to get there. Life is what we make it. Make yours happy. Choose to be happy every day. There is always that choice. Make that choice and find your patch of happy.

Monday, June 11

Day 163: Each of the Seasons brings with it Gifts

One thing I love about Sweden is how each season holds customs and traditions that I get to look forward to all year long. For example, in the fall fresh mushrooms are in season and you can go out and pick them in the forest yourself. We haven't done that yet but I really hope to this coming fall. Then at Christmas time there are the beautiful, holiday lights and decorations that come out, in addition to enjoying hot glögg (Swedish spiced wine) and pepparkakor (gingerbread cookies) as often as you like. 

In the spring everything blooms and awakens afresh from the long, hard winter. I love how spring also awakens my senses and renews my love of all of the spring flowers. I am especially partial to the cherry blossoms. Big, poofy, pink blossoms that just burst into life, causing the branches to sag with their rich heaviness. Cherry blossoms are one of my favorite things that spring brings. Another thing I love about spring is that nearly every week it seems, a different flower blossoms. I step outside and there is a change of scenery every day. 

Then of course there is summer. It is nearly mid June and I am still looking forward to it. There have been some warm days but there have also been some cooler days and I am patiently waiting for more of the warmer version. In early summer there are the endless, lazy days of bicycle rides in the warm sun and swimming in the Baltic sea or lake Malaren. Of lying in bed at night wishing it was cooler as I lie melting and waiting for sleep to carry me into my dreams. In the later part of summer there is berry picking and pie making to look forward to.

Yes, each of the seasons brings with it gifts that I get to enjoy throughout the year. And in Sweden every season is treasured and relished. In the summer, certain things that are available only in the winter have been packed away, and in the winter, all of the summer things are packed away and winter is celebrated.  Each season is celebrated during that season and then it is put away until the time to celebrate it again comes around. Maybe it is because the seasons here are more distinct than the seasons where lived before moving to Sweden but I really love celebrating each, distinct season and really feeling a connection to all of the individual celebrations. 

Sunday, June 10

Day 162: The Icing on yet Another Wonderful Day

We went out to the country today. And when I say the country, I mean the country. The air was crisp with the fresh scent of pine trees and musty, forest floor and the only sounds to be heard were birds happily singing and crunching twigs under our feet as we trampled and squished our way down the soggy trail. It rained, it shined, it was humid and it rained some more. There wasn't a soul around aside from us.

It was the kind of peaceful that causes me to spontaneously relax. My thought processes slow to the rhythm of nature. I could walk in silence for hours in that environment and not feel the need to speak a word. The sounds around me say all that is needed. I always find myself rejuvenated from an outing in nature. The hectic, chaotic city sounds replaced by the soft, murmuring sounds of leaves rustling in the trees and the quiet, almost eerie, beauty of the moss-covered ground.


Moose are quite prevalent in this region and we had hoped to see one. Our eyes were peeled and we were on alert but there were no moose sightings. That is, until we were in the car on our way home. We were looking out the windows on both sides of the car when one of our friends spotted one. "I saw a moose and I am not even kidding," she said. My husband put the car in reverse and sure enough, out in the field stood a magnificent moose. The sighting completely made my day. It was my very first moose sighting in Sweden. Actually, now that I think about it, it was my first moose sighting ever. The icing on yet another wonderful day.

Mrs. Moose. 

Saturday, June 9

Day 161: A Pretty Near Perfect Day

Happiness today came in the form of two scoops of cold delightfulness on a cone. One yogurt with mint and lime and one pecan with maple. Can you say yum? Nothing says vacation and summer quite like a perfect, double-scoop cone. I savored every, single bite. It really is a shame that this amazing, ice cream place is just across the street from our apartment building. A shame for our waistlines, that is. But seriously, eating that ice cream cone this afternoon made me wish my vacation and summer could go on and on forever, like summers were when I was a kid. Do you remember when summer seemed like it lasted an eternity? Ah... those days...

Today was a pretty, near, perfect day however, filled with almost all of my favorite things: shopping, eating good food, looking at inspiring art and spending time with two of our favorite people from Texas. We took them to visit some of my favorite stores in Stockholm. And they will be taking a little something home from each of these stores. That too makes me happy. Not that our friends were parted from their money, but that they found things that they wanted in these stores that have become dear to my heart. It makes me feel like they are taking home a part of me as well.

Our shadows at Stureplan in Stockholm...

On our way to Magasin 3. (Note the orange stripe in my husband's bag)

A photo of a photo from the Fairytale exhibit by Ai WeiWei. (Note her orange umbrella)

Friday, June 8

Day 160: Orange You Glad I Didn't Say Banana

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Banana who?
Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Banana who?
Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Orange who?
Orange you glad I didn't say banana!?!

I love this joke. It completely reminds me of my childhood and my mom. I can remember her telling it to me for the first time. I thought it was the funniest thing ever. I laughed and laughed and laughed. It is funny and pretty clever. But even more than this joke, I love orange. The color and the fruit. They both make me happy. Orange makes me think of fun and summer and my husband, as it happens to be his favorite color. He has an orange bicycle, lots of orange shirts and even a watch with an orange band, that I gave to him as a wedding gift. (He wore it on our wedding day too).

Orange seemed to be the theme and color of the day today. It kept re-asserting itself everywhere I turned. It started out with a glass of fresh, orange juice that I drank with homemade, breakfast tacos, made by one of our visiting friends (yum), then continued with my husband riding his orange bicycle, one of our friends wearing an orange t-shirt, the other friend wearing an orange, road-id, wrist band, a blood, orange soda that I drank with my yummy, pizza lunch at Primos Ciao Ciao, an orange, cola popsicle that I was offered at a friend's vespa and clothing shop that we visited, where I also saw a very, cool, orange, vespa helmet, and I saw lots of orange things that I coveted today while we were out shopping and browsing.

I don't know if orange is my favorite, favorite color but I really really like it. It is definitely ONE of my very, favorite colors and I wouldn't be upset if I had to choose it as my absolute favorite. What is your favorite, happy color?


Thursday, June 7

Day 159: [Chocolate] Shopping Break

Being a tourist in my own city can be so much fun. With our friends here visiting from out of town, we have been taking them around to see all of the "touristy" sights and it makes me fall in love a little, bit deeper with Stockholm all over again. Especially with the great weather we've been having (I hope I didn't just jinx it by saying so). Today we did a sort of walking tour of Södermalm and then made our way down to Gamla Stan, which is the Old Town area of Stockholm, full of cobblestone streets and architecture dating back to as early as the fourteenth century.

One of my very favorite past-times is finding unusual or unique gifts for friends and family. Being out and about today, we visited many of my favorite stores and most of them are in the process of, or have just recently stocked up with new, summer arrivals. I found lots of things today that I tucked away in the back of my mind for Christmas and birthday, present ideas. And I even found a thing or two to add to my own wish-list. Shopping is so much fun! Early on in our visit to Gamla Stan, my husband and one of our friends decided that maybe they would let us other girls shop on our own, while they made their way back home to nap and hang out. With strict instructions for us to not come home with [any] bags. Right.

To be fair, we said we'd try to be good and we said our goodbyes and set off on our way. A couple of hours into our shopping excursion we decided that we needed something to drink and perhaps a short rest to rejuvenate so we made our way up to Stortorget, or the main square, and had one of the best, hot chocolates in the city at Chokladkoppen, or "The Chocolate Cup." It couldn't be more perfectly named. As we sat waiting for our hot chocolates my shoulders sat somewhere around my ears but as soon as our server delivered our chocolate decadence I felt my shoulders relax and my neck grow a couple of inches as I melted into my seat. I am not sure if it was the euphoria from the chocolate or simply being in such a nice, relaxing environment with my friend but it was the perfect [chocolate] shopping break.

We ended up walking home with a few, small bags each. And each of us with a gift for our beloveds. 

Chocolate decadence...

Ah... true love...

Wednesday, June 6

Day 158: The Way to Pie

Today we were on a hunt but we didn't know what for. There was just something missing...

We got on our bikes and headed out to Djurgården, which is a beautiful island situated in the middle of Stockholm and is also part of the Royal National Park. It is mostly forest and nature areas, complimented with museums, restaurants and even a few, elite, private homes. We set out to ride the island's perimeter and on the way we met a family of swans. They were so cute. The parents were fishing for food and teaching their young how to do it as well. One of the adults would turn upside-down, tail straight up in the air, and one of the babies would try to mimic mom or dad. The babies could not quite get completely upside down like their parents but they were trying again and again. It was one of the cutest things I have ever seen.

There is a lovely, outdoor cafe on the island called Rosendal's Trädgården and we usually have lunch there when we are out on bike rides in the vicinity. Many of the ingredients used in their food are organic and come from their extensive farms. The food is delicious and the grounds are beautiful, creating a wonderful combination of relaxation and peacefulness. Being out on our bicycles always makes me happy. 

We were having a great time and the weather was simply amazing so we decided more is better and, instead of calling it a day and heading home, we decided to ride further on to the northern part of Djurgården and visit the location of my kayaking course from last week. Riding through the forest and then through the open, country side did wonders for my soul. There is just something about having the wind blowing against my skin and the sun shining down on my face that makes the day get brighter. 

After a brief rest on the docks of the kayak barn we decided that a cup of coffee would hit the spot. I had one idea of a place nearby and so we headed off in it's direction, only to find it closed. However, we saw so many cars and people around, I thought there must be something going on besides family picnics. And sure enough, just around the corner we happened upon a cafe that was, indeed, open. Skafferiet i Ekoparken it was called. And what a lovely, little spot. Little did we know that our adventure would lead the way to pie. 

The four of us shared a mouth-watering slice of rhubarb and raspberry pie, served with fresh, whipped cream, that I am pretty sure we all wanted to gobble down ourselves after the first bite. But we were polite and took our turn taking bites until there was one bite left. No one dared eat it but when the time to leave drew near, one of our friends said it would be a shame to leave that last bite. To which my husband replied, "Oh, there will be no pie staying here." Everyone was being very polite and no one went for it. So I lurched in and took a small bite of it and someone else finished it off. There was no pie staying.

Along the coast of Djurgården...

Our family of swans, swan-diving...

Map of the North Djurgården where we road later in the day...

Skafferiet in Ekopark...

 The Pie.

Tuesday, June 5

Day 157: Harriet's Return

Sunday night as we sat around the dinner table at our summer house, I began to tell the story of the visitor we had last summer. She (I like to think of her as a "she") showed up every morning around eight a.m. and every evening around five p.m. I guess she was a social eater, as it was usually when we were about to have breakfast and dinner. She would suddenly show up on the grassy knoll behind the house and nibble on the grass or wild flowers growing along the hillside while we kept her company from a distance. I am pretty sure she liked us, as she did not run away as long as we did not come too close. I tossed her a carrot one evening but it went untouched for days and I finally put it in the compost. I guess she preferred to eat in the wild and, even though it was an organic carrot, she may have smelled more than nature on it.

"She" was Harriet. A lovely, little hare who showed up one day at the summer house during our summer vacation. Seeing her there made me smile deep inside, almost all the way in to my liver. It warmed my heart to have this little, daily visitor. It felt as though she chose us and I like to think she felt safe with us there. I suppose it could have also partly been because I was missing my kitty who went to kitty heaven before we moved to Sweden and partly because she was just so darn cute.

So there we were at the dinner table, me telling my story of Harriet when I looked out the window and thought I saw the back end of a hare run across the grass. What it Harriet? Could she hear me? I quietly crept outside to see if I could spot a bunny. In the end I determined that it must have been a figment of my imagination, as there was no sign of a bunny. I mean, I was after all just talking about her and how strange that she would suddenly show up. Right?

This morning, two days later, one of our friends was standing at the window looking out toward the grassy knoll and suddenly said, "I see a bunny!" And it was a bunny. I don't think it was Harriet because this bunny seemed smaller but perhaps it was one of her babies. What a happy moment! I cheered, took photos and even went out, but not too close, to talk to her (or him). I hope our new Harriet will stay through the summer. It will be nice to have our daily visitor in the garden.

One of the photos I took this morning of our new Harriet...

A photo of Harriet from last summer...

Monday, June 4

Day 156: The Sheep of Pilane

The other day I wrote about the joy and excitement of seeing a friend you haven't seen in a while and running to hug them so hard it almost hurts. Today I experienced the animal version of this in the form of sheep. Every summer we visit an outdoor, sculpture park on the island of Tjörn, which is where my husband's family has a lovely, summer cottage. The sculpture park is called Pilane and artists from literally all over the world feature their works here. The sculpture park shares it's outdoor space with an ancient, Viking burial ground and a herd of the cutest and funniest sheep you've ever met.

The first year I met these sheep they were not particularly friendly and would run from you or get very nervous and squat down to pee when I tried to pet them, which in turn would frighten me, which served to further frighten them. It was quite hilarious actually. The following year the sheep had become more tame and would allow you to walk up and pet them and in the years that have followed they have become increasingly more friendly. Today they came running to me and my friends and practically climbed into our laps trying to get near us. Several of these adorable gals and fellas came up and surrounded me, leaning their heads against me, sniffing me very intensely and even gently nibbling at my fingers.

I gave them hugs and scratched their heads, while my husband found one that liked to wag its tail when you scratched its back near its tail. Another one leaned her head back with her eyes closed as one of our friends cuddled and petted her. It simply warmed my heart from the inside out to see them and have the opportunity to pet them. The sheep of Pilane made me happy today and will always hold a special place in my heart.

Sunday, June 3

Day 155: Necessities to Take on a Trip

I love to travel but there are definitely certain things that are necessities to take on a trip. Last night I discovered that having my earplugs was one of those necessities. After initially falling asleep, I was suddenly awakened by the deep, throbbing base of a nearby music festival. I tried to ignore it but it persisted, annoyingly. I finally forced myself to get up and see if I could find some ear plugs and, as luck would have it, there was a pair in the first place I looked. Ah... relief. I put those suckers in and promptly fell back to sleep. Let me just clarify that this was after I had gotten up three or four times already to adjust the AC because I was roasting. I finally found the complimentary robe and used that as a cover. It worked temporarily but the ear plugs were the icing on the cake. Sleep finally was mine.

I found on our boat tour this morning that I was really happy as well to have my polar-fleece vest and jacket AND my rain jacket. I would not have been opposed to having gloves and a winter hat either, it was so windy and cold. The day finally warmed up a bit but the wind was still relentless. Pretty bizarre considering our unseasonably warm weather in the past few weeks. My husband read that temperatures were a record low for Sweden the last couple of days. Welcome to Sweden!

But the best, most absolutely, perfect things to have when I am traveling are our cherished friends (or family). This we first discovered last summer when my parents came to visit and later that same summer when another couple of our dear friends from Texas came to visit us. There is nothing so comforting as the warm, long-time relationships of great friends and family.

On this trip we have two, wonderful and cherished friends with us and that makes me very happy.

Saturday, June 2

Day 154: An Orange Swan

Our god daughter, well to be accurate, my husband's god daughter and mine (luckily) by default, lives in Brighton, England with her parents. She is beautiful, bright and witty and just lovely overall. Her mother was recently moving some furniture in her bedroom and came across the drawings below, tucked secretly within the pages of a book and dated a few years ago when she was just seven years old. When I first saw these drawings I smiled with joy. I became instantly happy and filled with the urge to print and frame them. They are fun and whimsical and, in my opinion, brilliant. I mean, seven years old? She has given these creature, not only shape and color, but lives of their own. The hippo seems to know her well enough that she(or he) knows that she is better at flamingos and wouldn't mind sacrificing the body of the hippo to be one instead and the orange swan, my favorite color by the way, has the intelligence to actually know about shape shifters. I know many adults who do not know what shape shifters are. This lovely, young lady is Caitlin, though she prefers Cat now. I hope she continues to have such a wonderful sense of imagination and expression throughout her life. To see art created my young people makes me immensely happy. I have some drawings that one of my nephews and I drew together when he was three years old that I love equally as well. There is something so beautiful and innocent about life seen through the innocence of a child. I think anyway. What do you think?

Friday, June 1

Day 153: Kanelbullar - A Great Way to Start the Vacation


That day just before vacation starts. You go to work, try to remember to set your out-of-office assistant, settle up everything so that there are no loose ends and try not to watch the seconds pass on the clock. Remarkably I was extremely busy today and didn't really have time to watch the clock, other than to make sure I had enough time left to finish everything I needed to do before two p.m. Since today is the last day that all of my colleagues will be in the office together before we all start our summer vacations, I suggested yesterday that we have a fika (Swedish coffee break) today and volunteered to bring the goodies. It's the best way to ensure that the goodies will be GOOD. Kanel (cinnamon) and kardemummabullar (cardamom rolls) from Bästa Bageriet (The Best Bakery) were brought and eaten. I don't know if Bästa Bageriet truly makes the best in Stockholm but they are darn good. What better way to start off my vacation?

And more is always better, right? So after I left work I met my husband and our visiting friends at Hötorget, one of the fabulous indoor markets in Stockholm, to pick up wine, shrimp and bread. Then we snuck over to Vetekatten to pick up more bullar (sweet rolls) for our road trip to Gothenburg tomorrow. I think they make the best in Stockholm. Yeah... they unfortunately did not last for the road trip. Shortly after we got home from our shopping adventure we decided to have a little pick me up and sliced a few of them in fours. They were devoured rather quickly so we decided that we shouldn't leave them for tomorrow. I mean they might not be "good" tomorrow... so we sliced the remaining ones and ate them too. We can always swing by another bakery in the morning on our way out.

This all reminds me of my very, first trip to Sweden, in the summer of 2006. And my very first taste of a kanelbulle. We had gone on a boat tour called Paddan, which means The Toad. It is a flat boat that takes you on a tour around the canals of Gothenburg and under some very, low bridges. I highly recommend it. On the tour, our lovely guide told us of a famous cafe in Gothenburg where you can get kanelbullar "as big as toilet lids." I had to have one. So after the boat tour we made a b-line for Cafe Husaren, which is located in the Old Town area called Haga. This visit to eat the world's, largest kanelbulle started a yearly tradition and even sparked a hunt the following year to find the best, kanelbulle in Sweden. It wasn't so good for the waistband but we had a lot of fun. Maybe we'll get to go there on our trip this weekend!

These things really are the size of toilet lids...

Now I have a very, small head but just look at the size of this thing compared to my head!