Saturday, December 31, 2011

Gott Nytt Är!

I received an email from Annika and Olle, out on Aspö for the holiday. She gave me a link for an iPhone app that makes it easy (and free) for us to send messages and photos.

I installed it and we've been chatting all morning. Annika sent me 5 new photos, which I've put up on her gallery. There's no snow at all, which is quite a contrast to last year.

Happy New Year to everyone!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Farewell to SAAB

It appears Saab, that quintessential Swedish car company, is no more.

I always thought a SAAB 900 convertible was a great blend of fun & safety. The Shelby, on the other hand, is not practical at all. Just fun. Lots of fun.

But I digress. Farewell, quirky little Saab.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Kalle Anka och hans vänner önskar God Jul

Even though we're far away from Sweden this Christmas, that won't stop us from enjoying the long-held tradition of watching Donald Duck at 3 in the afternoon.

Through the magic of the internet, and although I know it goes against tradition of watching only live, we'll be revisiting last year's broadcast (which doesn't change all that much year to year).

Margaret sent me a Slate article about the tradition, and all my previous posts over the years are here.

God Jul till alla!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I thought I had blogged before about my favourite Swedish breakfast treat, but it appears I haven't. So, to rectify my oversight:

Filmjölk is a traditional soured milk, somewhere between regular milk and yogurt in consistency and taste. I think it's delicious with granola and/or fruit in the morning, and it's my big breakfast treat on Aspö.

There are a whole host of similar soured/fermented milk products in dairy-consuming cultures all over the world. I don't mind sour cream on my baked potato, but that's about as far as I go here in the US. No buttermilk or whipped cream for me. But in Sweden, I can't get enough fil in the morning!

As I was looking up info on filmjölk for this post, I stumbled across a website that sells the specific starter cultures to make my own. This, I couldn't resist. I ordered a packet, and now Sooz and I have followed the video instructions and made our very own filmjölk.

I had my first bowl this morning, topped with fresh Swedish granola, courtesy of Marcia. It was damned good! The taste was exactly the same, and I had a tasty, if nostalgic, breakfast. It was funny to enjoy such a Swedish-specific treat here in Texas.

If I manage my culture right, I'll be able to enjoy a Swedish treat all winter long. I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I'm back in Texas

72 hours after I left, I'm back in the Lone Star state. Thanks to the on-time performance of a number of global airlines, the public transportation systems in London and Stockholm, and above all, the cheerful and efficient chauffeur services of my good buddy Rutger, everything worked out fine.

It was nice to visit the house of course, but a little strange, too. Being on the island by myself on such a dark, wet, and cold day gave everything a melancholy, if not slightly threatening, air. I also had the constant reminder of being on the clock. I was there for about 5 hours, about twice as long as the Apollo 11 crew spent walking on the moon, but still.

I took photos for some future projects I'll blog about later. Everything else seemed in great shape, with the exception of our little shed, which is settling a bit. We'll have to jack it up a bit next year.

A batch of photos are up on a new webgallery. It's still hard to believe we won't be back until Easter at the earliest...!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hello from Aspö

I'm here, in the middle of a breakneck visit to Europe. It is grey and raw here. I'm having a hard time not imagining myself as a character in a Wallander book. I'd much prefer snow. But no matter bleak it is here right now, it's still beautiful in its own way.

The house looks good and the bathroom and water closet are both properly warm. I seem to have misplaced the key for the shed which is an annoyance. I'll find a weatherproof combination lock for my next trip.

I'll have a few photos up when I'm back in the US, which is tomorrow, believe it or not.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

St. Lucia's Day

It's Lucia's Day today. I haven't found much of a Swedish community here in Texas yet, as I posted last year. But I will try to get Sooz to make some saffron buns!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chicago Wolves Hockey

I have mentioned in the past that Wille's son, Eddie Lack, is a goaltender in the hockey minor leagues here in North America. You may recall that Wille hails from Leksand, the hockey-mad region in northern Sweden.

Eddie is now with the Chicago Wolves in the AHL. I've been following his exploits closely.

Recently, Eddie was featured in the Wolves' online magazine, and it's fun to read about him. Wille told me he was planning to come to Chicago this winter, and we'd love to join him in my hometown to watch some hockey.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Another Summer house

Dwell has a slideshow of a very simple and chic house in the Skåne countryside.

It's a bit too precious for me, I think. But it is beautiful and worth a look.

Friday, December 2, 2011

More photos from Annika

I received an email from Annika this past weekend. She reported:

"This weekend we visited Aspö again and it was very windy. However – everything looks great around your houses. No damages or anything unpleasant seen. Not a snowflake in sight and we are glad for that!"

She also attached a few wonderful photos from her iPhone. I've updated the webgallery.