September 29, 2018

Stockholm, Day 2

On our second day in Stockholm we wandered around the town until it was time to go to the speakers' dinner, provided by our host.

Hotel With Urban Deli was wild and great. Our room was downstairs via glass elevator or spiral staircase. Our floor also contained a public space with carpeted risers and large work tables.

The carpeting in the hallways has a "undressing on the way to the hotel room" motif, and there were shower rooms in the hallway that were for "dirty little girls" and "dirty little boys". I don't even want to know why.

The deli upstairs was super fancy. A glass-fronted freezer for single-serve mochi covered ice creams. I guess that's a thing.

The pre-made salads were impressive, they had a shrimp bar and had a special sauce which they named after Sean Connery, with no apparent explanation

We had a few free hours on Day 2, so we walked around and got coffee. Mrguy found us a very satisfying thrift store where he bought records (a theme on this trip) and I bought printed denim fabric and a teensy watercolor of a chicken, from 1920. All for the princely sum of 17 Swedish Kroner.

Speakers' dinner that evening was a delicious moule frites kinda affair, with lovely conversation with other archivists and our host whose father was a famous director of infamous Swedish movies. Our host took a different route, to business school. Lovely fellow.

Then we came home and had a nightcap in the hotel bar:

So ends Day 2.

September 21, 2018

Plague Of Frogs

What's next? 
Really, People?

The last year at the factory has been so hard, in multiple ways that I'm not at liberty to discuss. It's a slog, but I'm still in love with it and its people. 

Yesterday my boss lost her job to restructuring. I can't imagine doing my job without her with me. 

Also yesterday we learned that one cat (nose) has terminal cancer. Not unexpected for a 22-year-old. But our other boy, ears, is also somehow sick. This was two trips to the vet for mrguy in one day. One biopsy for ears. He is still at the vet's overnight, awaiting an ultrasound.

And an hour ago, mrguy smelled smoke in the middle of the night, got up, saw flames shooting out of our next door neighbor's entryway, called the fire department and saved their house from burning down.

Are we done yet?


September 13, 2018

Dog Mayors

The other day I read an item about the passing of another honorary dog mayor. Pour one out for Lucy Lou, who was the mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky.

Which reminds me that in July, for lack of anything better to do, I took my mom to a biker bar in a town about 40 minutes' drive from the mama's place. 

The town's claim to fame is that it once had an honorary dog mayor.

The bar's claim to fame is that after the mayor's passing, they taxidermed the dog and routed the beer tap through its body, which stands on the bar back. As I heard it described, the bartender lifts the dog's leg and the beer is dispensed. Whereas we were pouring one out for Lucy Lou, we were pouring one out of this dog mayor.

So I take my mom for a road trip to the town in question. It's one of those unincorporated areas that's not quite a town. Of course my heart sings for such a place, like a town near the Old Place where you drive through the yellow hills til the road dead ends in a broken up wharf. There you find a bar filled with bikers and a taxidermed polar bear. There's a certain romance in that. Or the Old Place itself, where a multitude of crazy things would take place and either make us laugh or frustrate the hell out of us.

So this bar and the town it was in were much farther than I expected, but the mama loves a drive, so it all worked out. We got there, and there were lots of bikers. A little known fact is that the mama really loves a Harley, so she definitely perked up. 

And we get to the bar and check out the tap and...WHOA NELLY! I guess you hear what you want to hear and it never occurred to me that they would be dispensing the beer out of the dog's nether regions. I thought it would be the mouth. Guess I lack the proper imagination.
The beer was not tasty. But they did make a good Shrimp Louis, two things that the mama really likes, and have Harleys and the mama had never been to this place before.

All in all a successful outing.

September 5, 2018


It's 9pm in Stockholm and I'm wide awake and exhausted. But I'm in Stockholm, right?

We gave ourselves a break by taking an airporter, rather than getting a cab down to public transit. The cab drivers can be a bit random. They have nothing on the rando airporter guy from today, who:
  • Carried mrguy's laptop bag to the van and then drove off
  • Parked the van in the middle of the street when he returned
  • Momentarily lost mrguy's sunglasses during his joyride (they turned up under the driver's seat)
  • Drove down the hill without our having our seatbelts on and would not stop when asked
  • Told anecdotes about 1960s state politics and the University system the entire way
Not restful. Plus he was grubby, and as we drove away I saw that the back of the van, where the luggage usually goes, was entirely filled with junk and paperwork. I joked that this cooler is where he keeps the spleen he's taking to the hospital.

Our plane ride was a pain. Literally. It's been a while since I've sat in Economy and my legs are inconveniently long. After a few hours I found a non-painful position and could sleep. But not before I watched a gardening show, three cooking shows, an episode of Fresh Off The Boat and Eat Pray Love.

And here we are, in the Hotel With Urban Deli in Stockholm. Our room features light fixtures that are reminiscent of those in a different Julia Roberts film, Runaway Bride. The bed feels amazing....AND so did the next three hours. We woke up, wandered around town, found Wheat Cat, whose window display is of a cat and kitten made out of wheat.

Now it's morning and that must mean breakfast by candlelight. This place is awesome!

September 2, 2018


What I should have said in my Adventures in Podiatry post is that I'm jealous that my 60+ year old friend whose shoes I photographed is in The Ramones and I'm not.

By which I mean that about four years ago mrguy south said something that has become a catch phrase in our home. We were walking a trail that starts about six houses down from our house. I was wearing Converse and slipping around on the hill and mrguy and mrguy south were wearing sensible walking shoes and having no problem with their stability. mrguy south turned to me and said "mrsguy, we're not in The Ramones any more." Like "get some sensible shoes!" I can't tell you how many times we reference this when talking about various aspects of getting older. But here we were, middle aged rockers at a show, and guys older than me were wearing their fashionable shoes, and I was eating fenugreek tablets, wearing WIDE SKETCHERS and orthotics and a silicone toe separator. I've got a whole rig going in my shoe just to walk these days.

But I heard that "Dad Shoes" are in right now, so maybe I'll ride that fashion wave. Thank you, Balenciaga!

So me and my dad shoes have been to several shows in the last few weeks, all featuring mrguy:

First the show at the club with the sparkly ceiling, where mrguy played bass with a friend from college. 

and then last Saturday our band played at a neighborhood chili cookoff. Near this adorable sign.

It was a first time for me with my new amp. So cool. I'm now self-contained. I drilled my Kanilea, and have separate controls for both mic and uke, and it is HEAVEN. The gig itself was a bit of a s**** show, with hordes of shrieking children riding scooters all around us. But then you never know where the bits of magic will happen. Of course it's a treat to play music with the 'ohana. And then... a guy came up to us in between songs and thanked us for our playing, telling us that he was a descendant of João Fernandes, one of the three men from Madeira who brought the ukulele to Hawaii. He disappeared into the crowd, and we didn't see him after that. Also magical: afterparty with pizza and beers. Later in the week we had our traditional post-gig pub trivia, where we came in first by one point. We're pretty sure that the one point came from the time that the ladies wanted him to write Rashida Jones, but mrguy heard us say Mindy Kaling and wrote that down instead.

Back to shows. After chili cookoff night was another mrguy show with his regular band. The show was fantastic. Everybody was there. Even some former friends. During the course of the evening, we achieved new milestones in the sport of ex-friendship, including proximity without speaking, full frontal proximity without acknowledging and spouse engagement. By the time the last thing happened and they came to pay respects to mrguy I a) went to use the restroom and b) had a long conversation with someone about his cancer battle. Super fascinating. Do you know that if there is a donor liver that is sort-of itself expiring they'll still put it in you? They start dialing around to see who is able to receive an organ when it is fresh, but if enough time passes and nobody at the top of the list is able to get to it in time (or it to them) they will give the liver, in somewhat of a compromised state, to someone local and farther down the list. He has to do some pretty awful stuff every month in order to be walking among us, but he's hanging in there with his funky liver.

And so ends the week and a half of shows. By this time next month, mrguy will have played shows with four different bands.

September 1, 2018

Penguin, But Avoid The Whale

With the National Anthem behind me, I feel a little more able to plan for our trip to Scandinavia, which is in two weeks [edit: two days, since it took me so long to post this]

The idea of traveling started with me reaching out to a guy on Linkedin. I thought he might be the son of my cousin in Norway. He responded immediately, and now I'm in touch with the lovely cousin that I last saw in 1974. I had no immediate thoughts of going to Norway, but the same week, though, I got an invitation to speak in Stockholm. So suddenly I'm going to do three things I really love to do:

1. Communicate about the work I love by means of my boyfriend, Keynote
2. Travel with mrguy
3. See family

I learned about all of this earlier in the year, but aside from keeping in touch with family and occasionally working on the presentation, I hadn't been able to plan much until last week.

And now I'm so doing it. I kept looking for a hook to take us in any direction. This is what makes me happy. Research, finding things we could do, and then doing them or not. I found out that a band called Virkelig is playing at The Garage on the 8th (if their landlord doesn't shut them down). Then something led me to a story about an emperor penguin named Nils Olav III, which led me to a restaurant in Bergen called Pingvinen. They serve whale, which I will try not to order by mistake.
And now, closer to the day, it's turned into old home week of sorts. The Nordic offices of the forklift company have invited me to come visit in Stockholm. And my cousin in Bergen reached out to our (80-year-old) cousin in Edinburgh, and that cousin is coming over to meet us (and to see her older sister, who is ill). The ill-sister-cousin's-son wants to meet us, and I think there is something else going on. All fabulous. I am blessed beyond belief. I feel like I've inadvertently kicked off a family reunion of sorts. 

Second one within a year.

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