Thursday, December 31, 2009

Gott Nytt År!

Or, "Happy New Year", as they say på Svenska.

It's been a good year; our house has gone from a shell to a finished home. We enjoyed a super summer there with our friends, and we look forward to spending time on our little island for many years to come.

Here's wishing a successful and happy next decade to all!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A White Christmas

Ronnie sent along these photos from Christmas Eve on Aspö. He wasn't able to get a photo of our house- the snow on our little path was too high!

And, yes, that's a moose footprint on the lower left.

Friday, December 25, 2009

God Jul!

Here's my gift for the day: my favourite Kalle Anka bit from the traditional Christmas broadcast on Swedish TV.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Christmas Card from Stefan

It's a gingerbread copy of their latest design, which is being built at the new Villa Expo near Arlanda. Cute.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Winter Solstice

U.S. Naval Observatory
Astronomical Applications Department

The following information is provided for the island Aspö:

21 December 2009 Universal Time + 1h

Sunrise 08:40 AM
Sun transit 11:43 AM
Sunset 02:47 PM
Total sun exposure 6h 7m

Friday, December 18, 2009


Margaret wrote last night that Stockholm's been hit by the first big snow of the season; Janne reported Aspö received over 25cm. I found this webcam shot of the snow from the personal website of a Stavsnäs resident. (In fact, that site has a lot of goodies on it, I'll put up a permanent link).

Anyways, Janne's water has frozen at his house, which worries me a tiny bit; after all, if his water has frozen, what about ours in an empty house? I spoke to him last night, and he is going to double-check our place today and report back tonight if he sees any trouble.

In related news, I'm planning a quick island visit in late January (on an interesting itinerary, more on that later). Janne and Ronnie will be away by then, so I promised I'd check up on their houses in a rare role-reversal!

UPDATE: Janne trudged through the snow to check out our house and all was well. Phew!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

St. Lucia's Day

Today is St. Lucia's Day in Sweden. I had posted last year about the holiday, and the Lucia before that, I was writing about news from the kommun.

We don't have any big plans for ourselves today, although I might try to talk Sooz into making lussekatter for us!

UPDATE: She indeed did make the "Lucia Cats". Yum!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Moose did it!

Marg sent along a story about a woman who was found dead in unexplained circumstances in southern Sweden. It turns out, after long investigation, than the woman was killed by a moose.

This is tragic, of course, for the woman and her family. It's also a bit of vindication for Margaret, as she has quizzed Janne and Tony repeatedly about the best way to deal with the danger posed by moose on Aspö. The menfolk always told her not to worry, the moose is more scared of you than you are of it, there's no danger at all, don't worry about it, etc., etc.

Still, there's no significant risk for island residents. As the story's expert puts it, “We’re not aware of any similar case in the world.”

UPDATE: More moose news yesterday.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A word with Janne

I forgot to mention that I talked to Janne last week. He said he had checked out our house and everything seemed fine; he went inside and the bathroom was plenty warm (although it's been mild lately).

Before he and Marg leave for Floridian sunshine in the New Year, he'll give the house a good once-over. Having Janne's seal of approval will make me a lot more comfortable.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

More on Lyme disease

Two key points for my readership:
  • First, there are about a billion Lyme disease websites out there. Most are not happy reading. My favourite quote so far is: "[Lyme] causes functional, chemical, and structural changes to the brain and alters almost every organ system of the body." Lovely. May I offer the same advice I gave Sooz: don't go googling for "Lyme". It's better that way.
  • Second, in hindsight, I really should have seen the doctor when I originally developed the red spot. I managed to post a photo but not to get treated. Stupid on my part.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tick diseases

I posted more than a year ago about a tick bite on my ankle; it flared up into a red spot (and blog post) a few weeks later. The spot went away and I forgot about it.

A few weeks ago, 16 months after the bite, I noticed a bulls-eye rash on my ankle, right on the same spot. Since the bulls-eye is a characteristic of Lyme disease (or Swedish, borelia), I visited the doctor to check it out.

My local surgery took some blood and sent it off to be tested. Just in case, they gave me a 2-week prescription for antibiotics.

Yesterday, I got a call from my doctor who told me I tested positive for Lyme antibodies. So it appears that tick bite did indeed carry borelia. Technically at least, I have Lyme disease. Bummer.

The good news is that I have (and have had) no symptoms at all. I feel fine. Sooz isn't too happy, but in a way, I consider it a badge of honor!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009