Sunday, March 22, 2015

All The Updates

Can I do it?  Can I catch you up on the past 6 months of happenings?  I thought about declaring this blog defunct (as I find myself doing every time I realize how long it's been between updates).  Yet I keep coming back, however infrequently.  Let's see if I can get to posting more on the regular again.  For now, here's an FF through the past 6 months.

We co-hosted a creepy Halloween party with some friends in the community space of their 1880s-apartment building.  Turns out, they actually used to keep the dead bodies in this space, which meant that it was a pretty swishy address back in the day (Does it have a "dead body room?"  Great.  We'll take it!).  But today it meant our party was that much creepier.

I was a scary baby doll, with painted on eyes.  

B was his great-grandfather.  heh.  Oh, Mexican humor!

Witches' fingers (gluten free!).

Over-served pumpkin.

Rats in the bathroom.

For Christmas, we went to La Palma, the westernmost of the Canary Islands.  We shared a modern house (with a pool!), overlooking the Atlantic with some good friends.  La Palma is stunningly beautiful, but the ragged terrain makes driving treacherous.  (Thanks to Monika and Jakob for being the designated drivers.)  The place felt pretty untouched, except for the German tourists who were everywhere.  It's strange to find schnitzel on the menu of many a Spanish restaurant.

Word is, it's the place that inspired the Madonna song.  Did she also record it in German?  I wonder.

A view of the Atlantic from the terrace of our house.  (That's our pool!)

Spontaneous sunning on the street.

Those peppers.  Yum!

We had a little last-minute fete at ours for NYE.

Cochino was a total couch creeper.

There were funny hats.  And lots of drinks!

A few days later, we went up to Åre (OK, actually it was Jarpen), just inside the Arctic Circle, for a dinner/overnight at the singular  Faviken Magasinet.  You can better understand what exactly this means here.  Yep, just getting a reservation is kind of a big deal.  And figuring out how to pay for it's an even bigger deal.  :)  File it under "Once-in-a-Lifetime Experiences."  That's what we did.  

I could have dedicated a whole post just to this dinner/experience, but since I've got so much catching up to do, this is what you get.

On the train up.  It's about 7 hours from Stockholm.

Our cozy room at Faviken.  

Roe in congealed blood cups.

Herring something-something.  (I am too lazy to get up and get the keepsake menu they gave us.)  But really, what plating!

Mushroom fantasie.... and "bog butter."  They told us how people in Sweden used to store their butter in a bog to preserve it longer.  This bog butter was full of moss and lichens and inspired by the old timers.

Oh, right!  Those coated quail eggs served in a nest!

After dinner drinks.  Here is a house-made egg liquor being poured.

Byro tries on the old fur coat that hangs on the ground floor of the dining house.

Breakfast the next morning.  Wonderful porridge, eggs, jams, charcuterie, etc.  You can see the sliced reindeer heart front and center.

We took a stroll around the grounds after breakfast.  Everything is farmed, foraged, and crafted right there.  All of the folks working at the restaurant live there also.  It's like a fancy food commune!

Dogs waiting outside in the snow in Åre.  Don't feel bad for them, they seemed pretty into it.

This is the terrible, terrible (OK, the cabin itself wasn't so bad) sleeper cabin that Monika and I got stuck in for an additional 4 hours (stopped in some random station in the north of Sweden without power, heat, or working toilets) on the way back to Stockholm from Åre.  Yep, it was something like 11 hours on this train.  Boo.

But maybe the biggest thing that happened in the past 6 months is that we bought an apartment in Stockholm.  We had to beg, borrow, and steal (OK, not steal) to make it happen, but now we're living in a much better part of town (Hornstull) and in a bigger place (still don't have an extra bedroom, but there's NO WAY that could have happened on our budget in this neighborhood).  Our new place is much better for having people over (both because of convenience of location and how the space is set up), and so we've been trying to do that a bunch lately.  We are still getting settled, but here are a few initial pics.

I'll start with a kitchen-to-kitchen comparison.  

Old place (tiny "excuse-me, pardon-me kitchen" with barely enough space for a table):

New place (view of kitchen from living room, note open space in new kitchen!):
The upper cabinets in the kitchen are original to the house, which was built in 1913.  (Don't worry, I bleached everything!)

The super-big bedroom, empty on the day we moved in.  The square-ish spot on the floor is where there used to be an old kakelugn (masonry heater).  

Cochino seems to like her new place alright.

More pics as we get settled...

Now you're caught up!