lördag 20 februari 2010

a sauna..

Since we don't celebrate nor Christmas nor birthdays we have a tendency to splash out when it comes to our anniversary; the only occurence, in our opinion, worthy of celebrating since it's one we chose ourselves and weren't forced to "enjoy" by society.
So last year we went white-water rafting in Colorado and while there also spent a couple of days at the Indian Springs between Denver and Aspen.
Wonderful setting...amazing natural hot springs bubbling into carved out "tubs" inside natural grottos.....just wonderful and worthy of a story of its own..
so reminiscing over the beneficial effects of warm water, hot springs etc we decided to go for what's available right here in a feeble attempt to thaw our frozen bones.
Some research showed a couple of Spas and even a Japanese Hot Spring...( In Sweden? Don't ask me how that works!)but for just a quick couple of hours without too much fuss we decided on a sports complex just around the corner.

They promised a Jacuzzi and a steam sauna...oh luvvely, we thought...to sit in a serene atmosphere and just relax and warm up!

Anticipating a couple of hours of bliss and tranquillity we arrived and were given locker keys, bathrobe and directions.
Slightly disturbing was the fact there were empty beer bottles in the "social Lounge" outside the sauna..usually one is not allowed to drink alcohol in a setting like that, right? But I guess this is Sweden after all....and they/we are fond of a little pick-me-upper now and then..

Feeling our way through the fog we opened the soor to the Sauna to be greeted by a cacaphony of loud voices...
turns out the sauna was a plastic "igloo" with 4 chairs on each side, close enough to gurantee your knees to intimately rub against those of whoever sat in front of you.
And interesting encounters may be had indeed...
It seemed to be Arab Boys Out that night and we shared the little cozy space with 4 overgrown Nefilims of Iranian descent..or something similar.. who insisted on conversing as if they were separated by miles and not centimeters...coughing and spitting and hawking..and who lovingly kept shifting their personal appendixes from left to right while giving them a quick scratch...!!!!!!!!!

Me and Mike hunkered down in a corner each looking forlorn...this testosterone-filled , hairy, loud ambiance was not what we had envisioned...

And to make things worse my plastic...PLASTIC! AARRGGHH...chair had a cut in it so my butt cheek got caught and as I tried to discreetly wriggle it loose my undulating movements must have been perceived as a shy attempt to a belly dance since I got their un-divided attention for a minute before they went back to harking and manly slapping each other on the shoulders..and shifting thingies some more.

Oh the wonderful variety of cultures.

We gave up...and as the Jacuzzi revelaed itself to be another meeting spot for the Middle East Male Youth Association it was painfully clear we're no longer willing to adapt beyond a certain limit.
I got home, sat on the floor in the shower cabin and let the hot water flow over me as I picked my nose and contemplated the wonderful world of loneliness....

måndag 15 februari 2010

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Could it be?

Could it really be? I heard a bird this morning! I'm sure it was a bird! It must be the one poor sucker that has survived so far! Now I have filled up the birdfeeder-thingy with tons of yum yums...such bravery MUST be amply rewarded!
So now we can add " Birdwatching" to the list of exciting Swedish winter activities ...

Normally it's deer we watch..The roedeer have been fed in the garden all winter and now we have 6 of them coming to visit every evening.
We hide behind a curtain and turn out the lights..and there they come! Majestically they slowly walk their trail..stop to sniff the branches...look back at us as we hunker down and try to make ourselves as invisible as possible.
The dogs tremble and salivate...."Hey Mommy..we're supposed to HUNT these guys, not just watch them!"
So in all the winter misery we have to admit there are some truly magical moments!

söndag 14 februari 2010

Will this ever end????

We have now had two good months of sub-zero temperatures and snow up to our cheek bones...not to mention the fact it gets dark at 6 pm which , by all means, is an improvement since a month ago it got dark by 4..still...this is hard living. No livin' la vida loca here I'm afraid!
I'm now starting to understand all the statistics throughout the years;
The Swedes are heavy drinkers
The Swedes commit suicide
The Swedes are clinically depressed
Well..all I can say is it amazes me they don't do more drugs...but I guess they're too expensive...
My new mantra is "I'm soooo bored".
I understand one has to adapt and find new ways of enjoying life..but what is there to enjoy?? Only an eskimo could love this stuff..
Snotticles under your nose isn't really the top of sexy....and as to any activity that involves shedding the first three layers of clothing? Forget it!
What can I say? The Swedes are no doubt God's frozen people...and I'm getting back under the covers with my hot water bottle to have yet another moan!

söndag 7 februari 2010

Why me?

The dogs have discovered how wonderfully tasty the frozen horse turds are....We drag them from heap to heap when in the forest..and at the slightest opportunity they chow away happily.
And as if that wasn't enough they have now taken to eating their own as well....what is it with frozen poop that turns it into Cordon Bleu?????????????
They're disgusting creatures , these little vile things...and then they want to come and French kiss...

lördag 6 februari 2010

My best pasta...by public demand....

Monica, you asked for my best pasta.Now THAT'S a challenge..
after 18 years spent between Rome and Venice and having eaten my way around the entire country it's only thanks to a wonderful metabolism that I'm not 150 kg's!
And trust me, many of those meals were pasta!

I am not a fan of processed foods or worse, canned garbage.
I prefer to cook from scratch with nice, wholesome ingredients.
Now if you cook "from scratch" in America you will do as followa:

Take one can of this
Add a bag of that
Throw in a handful of that frozen s***
and so on

I'm oldfashioned enough to think a "cake" should be made with eggs, milk and flour and not poured outta bag..but hey! That's me.....

So when we cook from scratch in Italy we tend to go to the market in the morning, select the best they have to offer and as the kitchen is perfumed by fresh basil, sun-swollen lemons and newly baked bread we throw ourselves into the art of cooking with enthusiasm! Ah....we live to eat!

In Sweden on the other hand we pulse through the knee-deep snow, manage to get to ICA, get slightly depressed over the shitty selection and dwarfed veggies, the sour fruits and the limp salad...but somehow we muster up enough courage to buy a few things...one has to eat to live...

A Rule of thumb in Italy is that it should take as long to make a pasta -sauce as it does for the pasta to boil..which is about 10-12 minutes for the dried one or just a few minutes if you use fresh stuff.
If you are gonna use the fresh pasta you'll be hard-pressed to come up with a sauce in such a short time but if you have around 10-12 minutes you'll make it, most of the time.

Most important thing: Fresh ingredients. Doesn't need to be fancy but it's gonna have to be good quality!

And then of course, the best sauce depends on the type of pasta and the time of year...if you want a meat-base, fish-base or a vegetable one....sorry you asked by now, uh?

But let's start with a very nice winterpasta for which you'll need the following:

2 big red bell-peppers /person
1 little onion
3 cloves of garlic
a good splash of nice EVOO (Extra virgin olive oil)
salt and pepper and glob of real butter
a big heap of Parmesan

and some fresh tagliatelle!

Clean and half the peppers, put them on a tray, sprinkle some oil and roast them, cut side up, in a 200 C oven until slightly coloured.
Pop them in a PAPER bag for an hour, then strip off them peel.
( This can be done the day before if you want to have a quicky lunch.)

While the water is boiling ,sweat the garlic and the onion in some oil and butter. Cut the peppers into small pieces, add.
some salt and pepper...and let it all just simmer on low heat while you cook the pasta.
When ready, throw it all together and be generous with the FRESH grated Parmesan.

Let me know what you think!
Buon Appetito!

And if I were you I'd swing some red wine with it.......

Nails...oh my God...NAILS!!!!

Nature was not at all generous with me when it came to nails. My entire childhood was spent chewing obsessively so by the time I was " a young lady" my fingers were graced by some short, unsightly stubbs.
Since the "vanity genes" apparently came with my DNA I found it terribly embarassing to exhibit such unsophisticated grabbers and spent many a dinner date sitting on my hands which is a problem since you do need them to eat.....

Then a friend of mine came home from America and started a little nail-bar on...I think it was Birger Jarls gatan. It was a messy affair indeed but I suffered through it and left with enormously long, sexy..( yikes!) blood-red claws.
It was the height of fashion at the time and finally I felt I could nonchalantly wave my hands and show off the perfection even though risking to seriously wound someone if they stood too close..
My mother thought my nails were disgusting and ridiculous but I was happy , oh so happy!

I became a fervid visitor at my friend's place and , unwittingly crawled into a psychological straight-jacket that has kept me bound ever since!

The truth is, I cannot live without fake nails. Now you know it!

Shortly thereafter I moved to Santa Monica, California and now I was cooking! Nail -bars in every single corner...fancy smantzy stuff...nails loooooong as I had never seen before..I was in Heaven!
And so it went on......

To have your nails done in the US is quick, cheap and easy as dirt.
Moving to Sweden turned it into a different story.

Here, apparently, the majority of women might splash out and have their nails done for a wedding, a party or some other special occasion.
I think there's not THAT many of us that keeps coming back every two weeks for a fill and a file..
Not surprisingly so since the price is downright silly! Silly in a BAAAD way. You have to dump half a pay check every time..( well...almost) and very often the result leaves a lot to desire.

HOWEVER....Listen up girlfriends! I have now, after a few misses found the BEST NAILPLACE around!
It's called "Queen Nails" and can be found on the second floor at the mall "Stinsen" in Haggvik!

I have NEVER..I mean NEVER had anybody do my nails as thoroughly and as nicely as they do!

You pay 300 Kr for an acrylic fill, it takes a little while just because they are so unbeliavably tidy but it's so worth it!

So , to all you nailfreaks out there: Let's unite! Let's take a look at the various places and rate them...let's help each other to find the good guys and to avoid the pitfalls!

We NEED to know all the places all over Sweden so we're prepared for any kind of nail emergency wherever we are!!!!

OK...you men don't understand this but we girls do!

So come on sisters...send your good and bad reviews and lets map out the Acrylic world of Sweden!

Your fellow scratcher.

How strange it is...

How strange it is to be back in Stockholm after so many years...I went into town the other day and took a walk down Memory Lane and it was all very confusing.

I went to Frejgatan where i lived while studying...the over to Vastmannagatan where I had a dinky little apt on the top floor, 4 stairs and no elevator but who cared in those day? I had ENERGY back then....

I strolled around and remembered...so many new shops now...that's where the bakery used to be, they had the best Danish in all of Stockholm...but of course the buildings and the logistics of my part of town was still the same..and yet, everything was different.

I kept looking into the faces of young people wondering if I knew them and then of course had to reign myself in and realize the ones I used to hang with are now old farts...and I was probably staring at their children!

Somehow it filled me with a great deal of sadness as I reflected on the futility of life...how fast it goes...how little control we have over the passing of time.

I used to live here...and then I "went for a ride" and when I came back 30 years have gone...

However..on a happier note, this moving back has prompted me to delve deeper into my Swedish soul and Swedish life in general. I'm curious as a cat as to all the new stuff and people...I go buy a gossip mag and there's about ONE person I recognize and he's ANCIENT...
So many places to discover, so many things to see and do...I can't wait for the snow to disappear and the sun to come out so we can start enjoying this beautiful town!

fredag 5 februari 2010

Comin' back home?

30 years abroad and here we are...hittin' the home turf! Or so we thought/ hoped/ wished for....Hm...
What started out as a deliriously wonderful lovestory in April with budding trees and blue skies have turned into a gruesome snow-filled nightmare..This is a frigggin' cold country....and did we make the right decision here???? We left sunny Florida and wonderful Newport close to New York and Boston.....California ,Beverly Hills and sunfilled Malibu...Rome and Venice...to find ourselves in bloody Rosersberg...Lord have mercy!
I will keep you informed as to the people to style...the food to cook, the wines to be drunk....etc etc....in short.: Stockholm, watch out! For better or for worse....here I come!
Miz sophie