Friday, August 30, 2013

And then there was a nun dancing

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So. Our hotel overlooks this square, and last night, for the second night since we have arrived, there was entertainment in the square. From what we can tell it is all done by the youth group from the church that is just outside of the shot on the left side of the above photo. At church on Sunday they led the music, so you see, we know it is the same people. So the night's entertainment starts with the marching band, pictured above. There is a priest playing a trumpet there. Probably their best hit is "When the Saints Go Marching In". On Monday night, they opened and closed with that one.

Last night there was more variety to the show, with several different people singing or playing or dancing. The crowd was slowly drifting away before the last performance of the night started: a nun doing interpretive dance. Nuns are amazing.

Plus we had a great view from our balcony of the nun dancing, and her shadows were pretty picturesque. So with that, I shall join the Theme Thursday: Shadow photo linkup.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

hooray for tuesday

Photo on 8-27-13 at 2.34 PM

This is me right now. Enjoying the sea-view and a cold beer on my balcony (almost). I tried sitting out there yesterday, and that lasted all of four minutes before I retreated back to the safety of the just-inside-the-door area.

I'm feeling so successful with my vacation today!

First of all, I got into this beer with no bottle opener, so that is a good feat. In addition to my cheap beer, I also bought some incredibly expensive (and incredibly worth it) macarons. I only ever had macaroons before, and I never really understood the macaron thing. And I probably won't ever be able to have macarons again, because they just won't be as good and they are dyed all sorts of showy colors.

I was going to try to get lemonade, because lemonade-beer on a summer afternoon is one of the finer things in life. I couldn't find any lemonade though, so I got grapefruit juice, and once that is cold we'll see if it does the trick.

Also, I took a photo for a couple who asked if I would take their photo. I didn't even have my camera out at the time, so they just took a gamble with whether or not they had asked a person who cared about things like framing a shot. I can't vouch for whether or not they were smiling or making weird faces, but that photo sure was framed well.

Before that happened I went to the market and got a baguette that was longer than my arm for 90 euro cents! Extraordinary lunch bargain!

So you see? So many successes, and still multiple hours of afternoon left for reading on (sort of) the balcony!

Monday, August 26, 2013

bonjour

Photo on 8-26-13 at 10.44 AM

Here is the view from the balcony of our hotel room in France. The photo is of low quality, so I'll go ahead and describe what we are seeing here. Rain. It has been raining on and off since yesterday afternoon, but that is fine by me. Also pictured is our sea view and the lighthouse. Yesterday before it started raining Greg and I got to take a nice walk to enjoy the sea views, and I took many photos which I hope to share soon.

Our travels here were fun, because we flew to Paris and then took a high-speed train to the south of France. Our train was delayed though, so we missed a connection and had to wait for a later train. At the train station we got in the line at the taxi stand in order to try to get to our hotel before midnight, but there seemed to be very very few taxis coming. Eventually a bus came, which was the exact one we needed (and I was so glad I had written down which one would get us close to the hotel, and that Greg had gotten directions to walk from the bus stop to the hotel). We were feeling so good to be on our last leg of the journey, and then the bus stopped to pick up a pack of at least 20 young people who were very drunk and very slow about paying for tickets and stamping the tickets. Finally we got to get off, and while navigating the sidewalks and trying to get around many ambling people who would not get out of our way, I was fairly convinced I hated this place.

After a wonderfully long night of sleep, I woke up to see my sea view, and I definitely do not hate this place. :)

Fun fact #1: The past two mornings at breakfast we have been sitting nearby groups of people speaking Swedish.

Fun fact #2: Salted caramel ice cream can be purchased less than 50 meters from our hotel.

Fun fact #3: There is a chocolate museum in this city, but here is the dilemma: If I was going to spend some money, would it be worth it to go to a chocolate museum or better to just spend it directly on chocolate?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

August ten on ten

It has been a long time since I've done a ten on ten where I take a photo every hour for ten hours on the tenth day of the month. For reference, here are my first and second ten on ten.

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1. Strawberries for 10 SEK (less than $2)! Nothing is ever cheap in Sweden so this was a great find.
2. Greg eats Swedish pancakes with strawberries and cream.
3. We were heading past the thrift store, so we stopped in for a quick browse.
4. Our wort chiller is also abstract art.
5. Moments after sweeping and mopping, we find dirt on the floor.
6. Candy!
7. Skyline.
8. The hops and malt extract.
9. My favorite of the set - adding the extract.
10. Our collection of bottles has just grown large enough to be ready for this batch of beer!

Friday, August 9, 2013

7QT: prepare to brew edition (also the no-photo edition, sorry)

- 1 -

I updated my About page. Ta Da.

- 2 -

I maintain that Conan O'Brien's Dartmouth commencement speech was the best ever commencement speech. (Here for reference.) And even though I didn't graduate until the following year, I still sort of claim it as my own. The woman who gave ours was lovely and accomplished and perfectly deserving of giving a Dartmouth commencement speech, but because I am a horrible person the only thing I remember her saying is a comment on how unfortunate it is to be the person following Conan's speech. Right.

So anyhow, that is not the point of this quick take. The point is that I saw the transcript of this commencement speech on kindness, which was really a great thing to read. I highly recommend it.
"what we really want, in our hearts, is to be less selfish, more aware of what’s actually happening in the present moment, more open, and more loving"
- 3 -

This weekend, we brew! The big surprise I got for Greg before he arrived in Sweden was homebrew equipment. It seems a little odd to buy new equipment, since we had equipment in NH, but it was actually more economical to buy new than to ship. Plus the resale value of the equipment will be quite good, from what I can tell. We found a recipe for a rye-wheat, so hopefully that turns out to be delicious!

- 4 -

That means tonight, we clean! The apartment is still pretty clean, because I spent a lot of time cleaning before Greg got here, but clutter has gathered and recycling needs to be recycled and whatnot.

- 5 -

Here are some old blog posts about our previous brewing experiences. (Note two of these are written by Greg.)

- 6 -

Today my library book is due. I really really like taking trips to the public library. So many books, just waiting to be read!

- 7 -

Last year I bought a waterproof backpack cover from a sporting goods store, but it ended up being too small. Luckily, Greg's backpack is smaller than mine, so it fit his perfectly. I've gone without for a long time now, sticking to the put-my-stuff-in-a-plastic-bag-inside-my-backpack trick. But I figured it was time to get a cover. I ordered a size small after debating between the small versus the extra small for a long time and reading a lot of conflicting reviews saying the listed dimensions were larger/smaller than actuality. Needless to say, it is about three times larger than it needs to be, but luckily it sinches waaayyyy down. I am pretty sure I could fit inside of it.

- The End and The Linkup -

Friday, August 2, 2013

7QT - less solitude, more påskmust

- 1 -

I think I had a race up the stairs with a stranger. I think I've always thought it would be so hilarious if a stranger ran up the stairs past me with the look of victory upon reaching the top first. The thing is, I didn't know it was happening at the time. I thought I was being mistaken for another person this man knew, and by the time I realized we might have just had a race up the stairs, it was too late for me to even laugh about it.

- 2 -

There is this thing called the Rule of Friendship, which a friend of mine invented. In Hanover, it means that if you are walking through town, you must walk on Main St. and not the back roads, even if those back roads might be more direct or faster. If a friend is also walking in Hanover and abiding by the Rule of Friendship, then you will cross paths and it will be so friendly!

On Monday, I applied the Rule of Friendship to Uppsala. The concept is still the same, although deciding which road is the equivalent of Hanover's Main St. is not always so obvious. There is a pedestrian road in town, where all the shops are, so I'm going to go ahead and say this is the number one road for the Rule of Friendship. Next would probably be to walk along the river, but that is beside the point.

Lately I've started to feel friendly again. For awhile, I was feeling not-so-friendly, and if I needed to go into town for something, I was sure to take the most direct route possible and walk really fast and avoid eye contact with everyone.

- 3 -

There was a little stand set up on the pedestrian road. As I walked by I saw this t-shirt being sold:

DOUBLE TACOS
WHAT DOES IT MEAN

Strange for sure, but also intriguing. Where does this t-shirt come from?

- 4 -

Last week I braved Ikea, and my reward was two of the cheapest bread pans ever. I think they were even cheaper than a thrift store would have marked them. Maybe. The thrift store was on summer holiday all of last month, so I can't be sure. So before Greg arrived I made zucchini bread, because I thought it would be a good treat for him. I followed the Smitten Kitchen recipe, because it is the best ever (no chocolate chips for me, thank you). I even managed to eat one full loaf before Greg even had any. Oops.


- 5 -

Wednesday was the last summer evening folk dance. I really wanted to go and take Greg so that he could experience the joy that is the summer evening folk dance. And the waffles. The weather forecast was not on our side for the entire day, but in the evening it wasn't raining, so we decided to just ride our bikes out there and see if it was happening. And it was! We danced a little. Ate waffles. Then it started to rain so we took cover in a barn. Then it stopped raining, so we danced a little more. And then we headed home.

- 6 -

Now that I am no longer living the bachelor life and am sharing the apartment with my husband (novel concept), I find that I am talking about 100 times more than I had been talking for the past six months. I always manage to have an awful lot to say when there is just always another person there, eager to listen!

- 7 -


I was asking Greg if there was anything he wanted me to pick up from the grocery store before he arrived. His response was that he wished he could have Julmust, but he knew he'd have to wait until Christmas for it. Julmust is a sort of spiced cola type beverage that is consumed in large quantities around Christmas time. Well, since Greg had left at the end of December, he didn't even know that there is also a special spiced cola type beverage for Easter called Påskmust. So I bought a bottle and kept it a secret for MONTHS, which is a huge accomplishment for me.

P.S. Yes that image is a baby riding a rooster pulling some more babies riding an egg with wheels.

- The End and The Link-up -