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Christmas Market

There have been a few great craft markets in town and I took some pictures at the Gammlia christmas market the other weekend. I went with LinnLinn, without her I wouldn't have even known it was happening. There were a lot more people than at the last Gammlia market we went to in the summer.

There were so many booths and everything was handmade. It was really interesting and everyone was so nice. Oddly enough it wasn't snowing this year, it's barely even snowy now.

Early Christmas!

Your eyes do not decieve you, that is santa... well, no, it's not santa, it's a tomte, which are much cuter than santas. We had christmas a month early in our house. In part because some members were going to be out of the country, and also in part because we're mostly impatient youth that get all itchy to open presents.

And open presents we did! My darling love gave me a swanky camera and knew me well enough to include the memory card, the protective over lens thing, and the storage bag. It's a beautiful canon EOS 1100D which will from this point on be fondly referred to as Betsy.

I was also gifted a box of books. Yes, that's what you read, 'A Box of Books'! Eight of them to be precise, all shiny and new and right off of my book wish list. (Yeah, I'm that girl that makes wish lists just for books.) Now, if only I could read as quickly as I make lists. I haven't even been able to pick one to start with.

On another delightful note, it hasn't snowed. I'll remind you, I live in Umeå, and it's late November. It snowed lightly for about an hour last Sunday but it never stuck. I'm pretty happy about the lack of snow, if only because six months of ice can get a bit old. I'll be happy if it waits until January to start though I know a Swed or two that would like their snow before Christmas (the real one that is).

What did I do today?

Why, I became a perminant resident of Sweden, that's what I did! After my two year cohabitation visa expired I had to reapply and then wait for an appointment to be interviewed (as well as pay 1,500kr [218 dollars]). Today we had the interview, Phong and I were questioned seperately to make sure our relationship was legit. The guy in charge of my case was really nice and I was approved!

I don't have much else to say at this moment. They will be sending me a swanky residency card (instead of a sticker in my passport as has been done in the past). I'm assuming the change to a card rather than a sticker is why it cost so much for me to file... although I don't think that would have been refunded if I wasn't accepted. But, I am so overjoyed at my residency that I shant complain and no matter how bad the picture, I intend to squeel with delight when the card arrives.

quilting adventures part 1

I've been working on a quilt lately. It's the first I've done since I was a girl. My mother is an amazing quilter, and most of the women in my family seem to sew. Unfortunately I didn't become interested in the craft until I moved across the globe. So here I am, relying on vague memories and phone call questions.

One piece I'm working on, the one in the photo, is going to be a full sized quilt with three different block patterns (four of each), but I'm not planning to actually quilt it- that is, sewing designs over the quilt in order to bind it front and back.

I've finished putting the blocks together but I'm going to try to refrain from putting up more pictures since it's a gift in progress, and though I highly doubt he would read a blog I don't know that I'm ready to take that risk.

You might notice my incredibly cool fabric, not normally found in the average frabric store. I scoured the web for these fabrics, the math ones, and found a wonderful site called Spoonflower. Delivery takes a while but it was well worth it.

The second piece I've been working on is going to be a wall piece and I am indeed going to quilt it (It is also a gift and she is slightly more likely to see this blog so there are no pictures for sharing). Now, keep in mind, during most of my life my mother was quilting something. I have all sorts of memories of her sitting in the livingroom with us, a quilt in her lap as she holds the wooden frame and needleworks the design. But, and this is probably important, I've never done it myself. Not even a little. So for the past few weeks I've had that piece sewn together, back and batting cut out to size, and pretty much just been staring at it trying to decide how to start and what sort of design to quilt.


Where have I been lately, you might be wondering. There have been classes, sewing attempts, strange colds, and new recipes, but most importantly- I've been finishing the fourth book of Gail Carriger's five book series, The Parasol Protectorate.

I won't go into details because I would hate to spoil anything, but if you happen to be reading this and you haven't tried this series I really do suggest it. The books are consistently adventurous, humorous, and all around fabulous. Carriger has created an wonderfully entertaining series. Dirigibles, Stuffy Vampires, Werewolves, Mummies, and Tea. If any of that sounds interesting to you, give this series a try. The final book, Timeless, is supposed to be coming out in March 2011. As you can see above, they already have a cover.


Also, I suspect that the woman on the last two covers is the author herself. I only have her half photo in the book to go off of since I haven't actually looked into this theory, but I thought I'd note it anyway. Plus it looks like she's wearing the same outfit and hat in both covers, the colors have just been changed. Not that I'm complaining, just observing. The first cover is still my favorite.

Tea Time

I bought a tea pot at Myrorna (my favorite thrift store in town). It's ceramic so it's a little heavy but also not as fragile as others. It was only 75 kronor, which is a little under 12 dollars.

I've been drinking Jade Oolong lately. I bought it from Zen Tea at Nolia and love it so much that I even had to go out and get it a jar. Oolong might just be my new favorite. I wasn't even a particular fan of green tea before meeting this one.

The adorable wonderland cup is one of the set Phong gave me for my birthday!

SF Bio (aka swedish movie theatre)

Phong and I saw the Captain America movie tonight. Don't worry about spoilers, this post isn't actually about the film but the theatre. We have one theatre in town, the SF Bio. For my non Swedish friends, I shall point out a few differences between Swedish and American theatres. The most noticeable is that it only seems to have showings between 5 and 9, whereas in the states some movies start around 11 (if I recall correctly). Also when you buy tickets they have a seat number! Forget waiting in line to get the good seats people, you can choose them online if you want or at the counter.

I happen to love going to the theatre. Unfortunately, the experience is beginning to decay. Trailers have become longer and in many cases made viewing the movie itself pointless, and 3D has taken over when it comes to big ticket movies.

Most American movies take months after their US airing date to come out in Sweden, but Phong and I wait patiently to get to see them in the theatre. Tonight the movie started. Or rather, the sound did, but the darkness left by the turned down lights was never illuminated by the screen. The image never came. After a minute or so of epic sounds and voices, it seemed no one near the door was going to make the move. Valiant as ever, Phong bound down the stairs on our side of the theatre, ran around the front, and then scaled the opposite side- elegant like a gazelle- and went to find someone to fix the screen.

Sound continued for another five minutes or so, it was hard to tell in the dark, until Phong returned. When the sound returned with picture, it was from the point where the sound had been. They didn't restart the movie.

At the end we waited through the credits, as is customary at the end of Marvel (and pretty much all) films now, to see the extra bit that may or may not arrive. It did! Or at least, the sound did. The image stopped just in time for it, right after the credits.

-1 for SF Bio.


I'm suddenly worried that I'm misspelling Nolia. Hopefully not. Anywho, it was a lot of fun. We went to the craft warehouse and saw a bunch of neat booths including a new tea place where I finally bought Oolong after what had to have been at least two days of wanting. More on the tea itself later.

Unfortunately, I'm really bad at taking pictures. Not the picture taking itself, but the habit of remembering to take them.

At some point we found a booth with sewing supplies but, of course, nothing in the way of quilting hoops.

After the craft building we went to the food building, it was great but of course by then I was so engulfed by hunger that I completely failed to remember I even had a camera.

Phong and I tried coconut baklava that was really yummy. I had a slushy that was okay but failed to melt properly due to the cold. We shared a veggi pizza and then had these desserts that are kind of like logs of white chocolate with coconut flakes on the outside and marshmellowy goodness inside.

Bet you're wishing I was better at taking picture now, right?

Craft Store Disappointments

Linn and I have decided to try our hands at quilting. The problem? Umeå craft stores are incredibly skimpy on supplies of all kinds, especially quilting. I went out yesterday to find and buy a good sized cutting board and a quilting hoop (examples below). But the only cutting board I could find was a small medium and we didn't even see any embroidery hoops let alone quilting ones.

(It's pretty much a big embroidery hoop. There are also hoops on stands and rectangular quilting stands that quilts can be wrapped around so as to work on larger parts of it. I never thought it would be something that was hard to find, since I grew up in California and my mother [like her mother and her sisters] quilts. I, of course, squandered my years with her and learned the bare minimum of sewing and quilting, only developing the desire to know more once I'd moved across the globe.)

(The green mat beneath everything else here is a fabric cutting board, which I also never dreamed would become a rare item. Picture borrowed from google.)

Linn called her mom, who happens to do many crafts as well, and she suggested that we try the Yarn and Sewing Machine shops instead of the craft store (there's only one) and fabric stores (of which I've found two, but they're a chain).

I'm considering opening a craft store in the future, preferrably when my mother retires and I sway her to move to Sweden, then she can be my labor and knowledge bank.

I'd also like to mention my disappointment in the lack of craft groups in town. Or, I guess I should say, the hidden nature of the few craft groups that exist. I swear that I've seen women knitting in groups at the cafe, so I suspect that they exist. I'd love to try a sewing group, or any other craft oriented group really, but I just don't know how to find them.

More updates soon! We're going to Nolia today (which I've been lead to believe is a market fair of just about everything [we're aiming for the craft booths and food booths, of course]). I'll let you know how that goes!

Tease. Don't Spoil.

So Phong and I saw Green Lantern, which was pretty great and I won't be dishing any spoilers so I won't be saying much more on it.

My real question is, what ever happened to teaser trailers? I recall a time when in theaters they played teasers and television did the same up until the movie was playing, and then they'd start airing slightly longer trailers and then later on when the movie is out on dvd they had the crazy long trailers that I imagine are for the soul purpose of reminding people that had watched it in theaters why they want to buy it.

Now every trailer I see is pushing 2 to 3 minutes and giving me the entire movie. I saw the trailer for Rise of the Planet of the Apes yesterday, which was kind of great because I didn't know what it was for and it was like watching a mini movie with a catch at the end when I saw the title. But seriously, I've now seen the movie. The trailer has a beginning, middle, and then an end with all of the emotional connections and build ups. I'll see it again when it comes out in full length, but I'm not going to be surprised or amazed.

I used to love watching the trailer in the movie theater, but now I just dread it because it's a bunch of films I might have really gotten a kick out of, but now I've prewatched. No film needs a 2-3 minute trailer. 1 minute tops. It's mostly about the music, the mood set, and snap clips of action if it's action or suspense if it's suspense. And honestly, for all of the movies that already have a fanbase, it doesn't even need scene clips. Like the first Transformers teaser. The Star Trek teaser. Even the Zorro teaser back in the day.

Captain America hasn't come out here but I've watched the first minute of the trailer and at least seen the first half hour of the movie through it. It's not necessary. Flash the Captain America shield to some really epic music and then give a date. I'd be there and so would a lot of other people. Same thing with Green Lantern. Give me a pan of space, a flash of green, a camera turn to Oa, and then the ring taking up the screen. Done.

I think I'll conclude my complaint here. Hopefully the people that are paying trailer makers too much to sum up movies will read this and knock it off. I minute people. That's it. And don't try to cram as much of a movie into it as possible. Trailers aren't about miniturizing the movie, it's about making people want to see it. Think about the name... 'teaser trailer'. Tease. Don't spoil.

Save the Grass, Eat a Cow.

I've decided to go vegetarian again. Not that I have anything in particular against meat eating, it just doesn't seem to help my attempts at weight loss and when I did drop a bunch of weight I was vegetarian at the time. So it makes sense to do it again. I don't really mind dropping meats from my diet, despite my childish dislike of vegetables, it's sugary foods that I'm a real sucker for.

Last year I went vegetarian and dropped all junk foods and high sugar foods from my diet as well as working out daily and lost about 21 kilos (46 pounds). It wasn't easy but I'd really like to do that again. Especially since I've put on 4 kilos (8 pounds) since I went back to meat and occassional sugars.

I used to be 113 kilos (248 pounds) and I'm at 96 (211 pounds) now (with my added 4)... does this feel like math to anyone else? Anywho, I'd really like to get under 85 kilos. It was my goal for the year, but the remaining months are looking a bit slim. I'm going to give it a go anyway and hopefully at least get under 90 before New Years, though holidays don't exactly make it easy.

But if I did it before, I can do it again, right?

Costas Greek Couzina

We tried this place in town (Umeå). It was much larger than I thought but for some reason it took forever to get our food. Now, often when people say that I think they're exagerating. But it took an hour before we got our entres and then another hour for the foor. Two hours. I don't at all mind spending two hours in a restraunt, if I'm eating.

The food wasn't bad. I had a feta burger. But most of the foods seemed to be pretty centered around tzatziki sauce, which unfortunately I don't really like.

Hopefully it was just a fluke that it took so long when we were there, but I probably won't be going back anytime soon.

Internet Rant..

Why does everything on the net now have to be connected? Why do I have to use my google or facebook accounts in order to log in onto flickr or youtube? Why can't they just have their own passwords? I distinctly recall a time when they did. So why does everything persist on wanting to share information about me?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not lacking in paranoia. I've coped long ago with the fact that someone somewhere is probably compiling information about me to see what I look at and what stores I buy from, but damn it- is it too much for a girl to want some stealth in the matter? Don't ask my permission and try to corner me into having to connect accounts if I want to use the site! Do you know what ends up happening? I haven't been logged into youtube for ages and on mornings like this where after half a dozen tries to log into flickr to comment on a photo, I finally have to give up because it seems that unless I give youtube information from my google, I can't.

I'm not an overly skilled computer user. If you want my info for your capitilist portfolio, be sneaky! I won't catch you, I'll probably never even care, but stop asking my permission and pissing me off. Just let me sign into youtube with my youtube passport and log into flickr when I want. I'm sick of making extra email accounts just to accommodate this madness. And Facebook (that's right, I'm talking to you. I'm sure you're listening since you seem to be EVERYWHERE and in EVERYTHING I want to do these days) you know where you can shove your connecting links and all of those little 'like' buttons that now appear in the top corner of so many other sites.

Camping in Saxnäs

I went camping with Phong, Phu, and LinnLinn in Saxnäs this week. It was a five hour drive during which we pulled over to view the scenery and I learned how to pee in nature. Seriously... I'm 23 and I had no idea how to go about something like that. It turns out there are no truck rest stops in Sweden, just little shoulders on the road and stretchs of forest.

Our cabin in Saxnäs was really nice, much nicer than I'd expected. But there are more bugs in Saxnäs than in Umeå. I think I got spoiled by the relatively critterless state of Umeå. I was showering at the cabin when I got that eerie feeling that something was nearby and there it was, the shower spider that persistantly continued to move around high up on the wall above the shower head. I almost abandoned my efforts of shaving half way through the first leg but I bared with the spiders creepy peepery and concurred! It was later returned to nature by Phong, since we're a 'capture and release' family when it comes to icky things.

On the second day we climbed that mountain in the first picture. We took a narrow path through the woods, fended off mutant mosquitoes and giant bee colored biting flies. Have you ever been bitten by a fly? Somehow it feels degrading so have something so low on the chain biting at you.

Anywho- we trudged up the mountain, taking more and more rests the higher up we got so as to heave breaths and wait for our hearts to slow down again... or perhaps that was just me. Phu and Phong were particularly energetic.

We made it to the top and on the way back, for some reason I was in the lead... I suspect it was gravity pulling me ahead of the others... but I of course managed to get us off trail and lost in the forest part for a good minute or two before we bravely decided to continue in the direction of the path rather than back track for a safer route.

And then for some reason they still let me lead the way.

Since this post is now longer than any other I've made here, I think I'll conclude with the victorious fact that I (lily white as seen in the photos) managed not to get sunburnt!