Monday, January 25, 2010


Another interesting location performing preventative maintenance on refrigeration and freezer units. Being here gives me a sense of respect and reverence for the lives lived.

"Big Night" Like the Movie

One can dream oneself away. So, I figured somewhere around Tuscany would be a nice place for a bit of imaginary travel. Asked our neighbors if they wanted to join us, along with a family that lives " kitty corner" from us, at the opposite corner of the field we walk around every day, to be exact. They accepted our invitation and I went to work on putting together a dinner with as an Italian flavor as I could dream up. So much fun for me!

The menu ended up as follows:

Gorgonzola Cream with sliced pears.
Prosciutto Crudo wrapped bread sticks.
Balsamic glazed chicken of my all time favorites......... and to sip, a glass of Prosecco for the ladies (a nice Italian bubbly wine) along with some nice beer for the guys and a shot of apple juice for Melker, our adorable little almost three year old guest!

Minestrone with crusty bread, olive oil to dip it in, and some Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
Chianti to drink

Panna Cotta with fresh berries for dessert, along with a steaming, foaming cup of Cappuccino.

This was as fun to plan, as it was to prepare. David provided me with musical inspiration by providing music from an Italian music site on the computer, so I could chop, dice, slice and stir to my hearts content, while doing the Mambo Italiano! Oh, what pleasure!! He also ran around with the vacuum all know how grateful I was to not have to do that!

Our guests arrived, including Imma ,Ralle's best friend. They had a fun romp in the snow before dinner. Ralle "smiled" when Melker came. He enjoyed sticking close to the little one, occupying the red sofa in the kitchen, while the rest of us had to stand. Well, you know......priority! And then we had Imma playing puppy style with Ralle, her chest down, butt up, tail flying, while Bosse is trying to catch it! Her tail, that is! Entertaining! David and I had a very nice time, as it was for us, a truly pleasant evening.

Walking with David to work this morning along with Ralle it was almost 12 degrees C below zero, nice walk though. And I have to laugh when I think of Lars' suggestion for David, now that he is back in training mode. "David, you could ride your bike to work!!!!" Yes, he could and get there in 30 seconds!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

First Training Day

Freddy ,our youngest, wants to ride his bike from Santa Monica to Chicago via Route 66. He wants me to join him. I said "why not". It will be an adventure of butt sore proportions. The ride is roughly 2400 miles (3,862 km). We plan on making the ride sometime in April/May of 2010. It will depend on Fred's job and family.

With reality setting in I realize that I need to do some saddle time. I haven't been on a bike since last summer. Not to mention losing some extra pounds.

I began my first day of training today for the big ride. It was -5 centigrade with 15 to 18 mph winds outside. As you can see in the pictures I bought the "Extra Wheel". I didn't hang the panniers yet. That's for later. During the ride I never felt that it was behind me. Later I will load the panniers and test ride it. The only thing that reminded me it was there was the yellow flag flapping in the wind. I think it will work fine. It's my body I am worried about.

I also set up the my road bike in the bedroom on the trainer for added spinning and butt conditioning. Now all I need is the determination and the will to train everyday. That's the tough nut to crack. Wish me luck. It's one of those, "It seemed like a good idea at the time".

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Interesting Work

The last few days I have been performing preventative maintenance on the air conditioning units of road maintenance asphalt equipment. Some might say it is dirty work. And it is dirty work and it is also new and interesting work. Learning new things is always interesting and fun. I is sort of figuring out how things work. This it the fun part. Here are some pictures:

Monday, January 18, 2010

No Cash

More snow! Not lot's, just enough to create a clean white landscape, powder the mill as if it is covered with sugar. The new snow creeks under your shoes and Ralle is in heaven. Rolls in it, eats it and just finds it delightful, just as Una and Rontu used to. The wind is still today and it is nice to not have those cold Siberian howling, screeching and ripping gusts. Minding the weather? What is it one can do, other than making sure you buckle your hat! And laugh! It does also make your senses more alive. You have great appreciation for the warmth indoors, that steaming cup of tea to wrap your hands around, the warm floors or a tub full of water to let yourself slide into. All that is somehow better when it is cold outside! So, since there is nothing one can do, since we have absolutely no control, it's good to make the best of it. It has been so cold in this region, long ago, that the water between Sweden and Denmark would freeze and you could walk from Helsingborg to Helsingor. Now that is COLD! Glad that was before my time!

On a totally different subject, we have been listening to the Bay Area news and understand that the banks are again hiking up fees and interest rates on credit cards, in the States. I can not but wonder what the difference is, or rather why the difference is so big, in regards to having a credit card there verses here? Using a credit card here is free of cost, no annual fee, no interest rate. Most people use the card that instantly takes funds out of your account like the debit cards in America. No one uses checks here, that is considered extremely old fashioned, funds and payments are made via the internet. The credit card is used for everything! No purchase is too small. One card, your banks card works anywhere, in any auto teller, at no cost! Withdraw cash, no cost and you get an accompanying statement for your last four or five transactions at no cost. Merchants prefer the use of credit cards, they then don't have to deal with so much cash, they gladly allow purchases "over" the amount, reducing the cash in their cash drawer. You can use your card to buy an ice cream cone or a hot dog, gas for your car and that ONE card
fits anyplace, anywhere. This rather than having a card for the Chevron Station, the Shell Station etc. etc..................So, I wonder.........what's the difference? Why do the American Banks and monetary institutions cost so much? And let us not talk about those bonuses for the bank presidents and those guys. It makes my hair stand up!

Friday, January 15, 2010

More Below Zero

Neta and I are enjoying our time in Sweden here. I sometimes might complain about this and that. But, in the end, Neta and I are really fortunate. We have friends, neighbors, and family here and in the U.S. who care about us and whom we care for. Whatever little problems we have are just that "little" in the whole scheme of things.

The New Year has started great. My job with our neighbors has started out fantastic. Working together and solving problems. Our son Fredrik in Southern California has just bought his first house. One of our grandchildren has one more year in college, two of our grandchildren have just started college, one has one more year in high school, one will be starting 1st grade in the fall, and one is in pre school. Our daughter in Hollister and our other son in Seattle are doing great. It is truly amazing, Life that is. It reminds me of that detective television show "The Naked City". There are 8 million different stories in the city. I read the newspapers from the Oakhurst and Mariposa area where we lived and worked for many years. There are friends and customers who are no longer with us, there are customers children who are now grown, like Hilary who is now married and expecting a baby. It is truly amazing. All of us are writing history. I sometimes get philosophical and emotional.

I wonder about Brian Lunquist, who used to work for us. He is a great kid and a joy to be around. He became a Sheriff in Mariposa county and I heard he just recently got married. I also wonder about Brian Bates (Little Brian). He would come in with his mother at age 4 or 5 to buy chicken food and dog food. He was a little man, by that I mean he was mature for his age. Later he sold eggs at a stand by his gate at his home. And he even worked for us at the feed store for a time. I think he wanted to make a career in the Military when we left. I wonder how he is doing. I hope he is safe.

Below Zero

Below zero for about three weeks now. Makes for some nice pictures and brisk walks with Ralle.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Chill

There is a chill on. Not much wind however, so walking the triangle at mid day was a very nice thing. Ralle seems to be getting over his fright mood at long last and hopefully the accompanying stomach upset is done and over. Cooked rice and ground cooked chicken is all he has been given today, he has not eaten much at all! Crossing our fingers ala the American way, along with holding our thumbs--- that is the Swedish way, we will hopefully have an accident free night! He is more UP, that is a good sign.

Tomorrow is the first "normal" day of the new year, whatever normal is. Monica and Richard (my older sister and her husband) will be celebrating their, I think, forty seventh anniversary? There are those NUMBERS again!!! The numbers just seem to be getting so big.....

Homemade Pizza for dinner, along with a green salad, a glass of red.........that is it.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 Sounds like a Science Fiction Movie

New Year's dinner.

Living in a mill has it's visual advantages on a night such as New Years Eve. One can see for miles and the firework displays are amazing! It seems every little village, many individual homes, cities like Helsingborg, the town of Hoganas, not to forget hoards of individuals all along the coastline, shoot off various colorful pyro rockets. One more creative and awesome than the next, to many onlookers delight,but to most dogs horror! We here could look in comfort, warm and cozy, with a glass of bubbly in hand, 190 degree view, taking a break from watching Fleetwood Mac in concert. But poor Ralle!!! He was beside himself! Hid in the closet, trying to wedge himself onto one of the shelves with stacks of table cloths as comfortable companions, all while we tried to assure him that all was going to be o. k. In Mariposa we did not suffer from firework noises, but often from rolling thunder plus loads of lightening and Rontu would be equally frightened, trembling and drooling. To see these brave, proud giants become so distraught is sad, so obviously that put a bit of pallor on our evening. Imma, the little cute Chocolate Lab was visiting along with her owners, she kept bouncing like a rubber ball, was not bothered at all. Such a difference in the breed, used for hunting and with a seeming immunity towards gunshots. Our poor Ralle is still not back to "normal"! As he still has an upset stomach, our poor big polar bear of a dog. The tummy upset was not helped by the fact that he was given some potato/pork sausage in his kibble. Wrong timing for such delicacies!!!

The new years always start out with a big BANG for us in more ways than one. Garrison David, our grandson, was born January the first, now nineteen years ago. We had a nice conversation on the phone yesterday as he is at home for Christmas vacation, he filled us in about schoolwork and such, and yes, Gary was happy to be home for the holiday and was planning to see Sherlock Holmes with his family. Recommended we do the same. It is odd, we have not gone to the movies once, since we got here! Last year we were ALL together for Gary's big birthday, a party had been planned since he was born! The day we opened his "time capsule", that sure was fun!

Is it cold, you ask? Yep, it is! At the moment 17 degrees F. There actually is something oddly exhilirating about it. These severe differences are great, as you really appreciate coming indoors after a brisk walk with Ralle for example. Dressed right, it's really nice actually, as it makes your senses come alive, truly! What I find more annoying is the getting dressed and undressed part. It seems like it takes so looooooooong, putting on the sweater, buttoning the sweater, wrapping up in the scarf, putting on the hat, then there is the zipper challenge!!! And God knows, that zipper has a life and a will of it's own! Sometimes it works exactly as intended! ZIP!!! Other times..........oh, let's not talk about it!!

Dinner? Roast halibut, asparagus, red potato and leek ribbons. Mixed green salad with raspberry vinegar dressing a glass of white wine. Dessert? Popcorn and TV. Stjarnorna pa slottet AKA Stars in the castle, it should be entertaining! David can practice listening to ONLY swedish!

This mornings walk yielded us a field full of Canada Geese. Fabulous!

Some church pictures today.

Have a great New Year