I took Jamie to a play at the local culteral center on Saturday and he really got into it. And by "into it" I don't mean that he was particularly engaged in the storyline, but rather, that he and his little buddy from school, during the course of the production, scootched closer and closer to the stage so that, by curtain, they were literally ON the set and playing with the props. I, meanwhile, spent that time a few rows back with the other parents, debating which course of action would be more disruptive for the actors. Would it be A) shouting "Jamie!" to get his attention and then motion him back to his seat, or B) letting him quietly open the top of the birdhouse you see there in the picture and stick his whole arm inside. I tested a quiet Option A, which failed because it was too quiet and then ultimately ended up going with fervent prayer that the dang play would just end. Children's theatre actors laugh in the face of the comparatively benign mobile phone signal, I imagine.
Something wonderful happened. They opened a Starbucks in a grocery store REALLY close to my office. They opened it today, in fact. At noon. I happened to be there. Today. At noon. I ordered a Skinny Vanilla Latte (because, as exciting as this development is, they still don't have Eggnog Lattes in Sweden) and they gave me a gift! Because I was one of the first fifty customers! Which, OBVIOUSLY, but I actually didn't plan it that way and it totally made my day!
Oh, I love music! I especially love when I hear a song on the radio for the first time, Shazam it, then find out it's by an artist I didn't expect or, in this case, didn't think I like very much. Feast your ears on Justin Beiber's Love Yourself and your eyes on the equally unexpected, marvelous music video. You're welcome.
There are as many ways to live as there are people in this world, and we're all doing so using our experiential and emotional repertoire, whether we're aware of it or not. I also have a few official policies I put into practice whenever the situation calls for it. They are as follows:
Don't sweat it. You'll never be able to remember the problem that feels like the biggest thing ever a year or two (or even a day or two) from now. Also, there are very few mistakes in life that cannot be corrected.
Pee early, pee often. I have to credit Andy for putting these wise words to my already strong feelings.
If a dress fits like it's made for you, you simply must buy it.
Buy something from kids (door-to-door or lemonade stands or what have you) whenever possible. This is also my mom's policy and it's a good one. I guarantee all involved will walk away happier.
Smell lilacs whenever you pass them. Every. single. time.
Never say no to bubbly. Unless you're driving, of course.
Write thank you notes. Nobody ever minded appreciation.
Whoa, boy, this was clearly a while back. Open toes? Skirt? This was probably the last dressy outfit of 2015 as things took a turn toward the cozy and relaxed when the weather started to cool. I'm already looking forward to wearing those heels again, though.
Here's another piece that will be out of rotation for the next six months, but which I am nevertheless happy to have in my wardrobe. I saw this top on the sale rack when I was out on the town with Erin a few weeks back and it was so cheap and so me that I didn't even try it on. I was quite pleased to find out later that it was exactly as lovely as I'd hoped.
I read an article about skinny jeans last week. Apparently the style has been popular longer than any other denim cut ever - over ten years - and it's no good for the fashion industry. They need to be replacing our clothes often in order to prosper, but no new style has been appealing enough to attract us away from the skinny. The next day I felt the need to wear my only non-skinny jeans to see if they have any game. Let's be real, they're pretty slim, but the ankles still felt so wide I felt it necessary to roll them up. I'm no trendsetter, so this is the widest I'm going until I get official word from these fashionable Europeans that skinnies are no longer dominating.
Speaking of domination, move over, the rest of my clothes, because these next two outfits are all I think about. Every single day I have to talk myself out of wearing this cardigan. A couple of days a week I allow myself the indulgence. It is not the cutest thing ever, it's not doing much for my figure, but I want to wrap up everybody I love in there with me all. day. long.
Then, this jacket! I've been on a mission to find the perfect military jacket for months and months and finally found it at my beloved H&M. The Swede indicated that not everyone loves it as much as I do; I feel sorry for whomever he may have been referring to as this classic is going to be in regular rotation FOREVER.
Sweden is in the process of rolling out new currency and while the old banknotes were truly beautiful, I am wild about the new ones, featuring some of Sweden's cultural treasures, half of whom are female! You may have heard of Greta Garbo? Ingmar Bergman? These are just a couple of the creative faces that are gracing our new bills. And, arguably the most beloved Swede, and certainly one of the most internationally recognized (if not her, certainly her creation, Pippi Longstocking) of the past few generations, Astrid Lindgren. These are like art to me and it's almost a shame to spend them. I'll have to try to use my bank card as much as possible to avoid the regret of having to part with these beauties.
I don't usually do posts like this, but a fellow choir nerd/theater dork from college has started a company and I thought the products were so cute that I wanted to mention it in case you agree! Her name is Liz and on top of being a very talented performer, she's a sweetheart and makes adorable dinnerware over at Sucrose Sucrose. Check it out and support her Kickstarter if you want.
Please excuse the poorly-lit picture, but I had to get proof of this Montana State University sticker that happened to be on a car next to which I parked. I couldn't believe my eyes! I drove out to the medieval church where my choir has its spring concert to listen to another choir perform an All Saints' Day baroque concert, which was magical, by the way. I saw the sticker while I was pulling out of the parking lot afterwords, pulled back into my spot, then waited like a stalker until the owners of the car came out. Because, you see, it's not every day that you see a sticker from the college that is located in a town you grew up in on the other side of the world. Not only did I grow up near the college, but many of my classmates and every person in my family have gone to MSU except me, unless you count that week at cheerleading camp or all of those hours I spent in the dorms flirting with my brother's friends, trying to get my MRS. I was hoping an actual Montanan would come out of the church and welcome me into their lives with a warm, American hug, but got a Swede whose daughter had studied at MSU for a semester and didn't seem to want to be best friends at all instead. Nevertheless, she and I had a nice chat and she was, I have to admit, almost as excited by the coincidence as I was, making me glad that I did that little bit of stalking that night.
This is how I look when I'm having the time of my life on a ferry between two of Stockholm's many islands with my man. Mama and Papa Swede generously took Jambo off of our hands for the whole weekend so we made big plans. First, for dinner on Friday night, we ate soft cheeses and listened to a podcast. Just unpasteurized cheese. Jamie would have hated it; we loved it. Then we went to bed at 8:30; Jamie would have made us stay up till at least 9:00. On Saturday, we went into the city and checked in at a hotel on Skeppsholmen, a tiny island in the middle of Stockholm that's just covered in museums. It was rainy and grey, but Stockholm was gorgeous and, as usual, I couldn't believe I live here. The ferry that docked right outside of our hotel took us to another island, also covered in museums and, incidentally, a theater. We saw a musical called Kristina från Duvemåla, a very timely bit of entertainment about Swedes emigrating to American in the nineteenth century. It was wonderful. We booked the tickets back in January and I have to say, it was definitely worth the wait. We ate a leisurely breakfast at the hotel on Sunday morning and then we were finally reunited with our Jambo, in a great mood after being spoiled at Molsta all weekend.
This isn't exactly something to be proud of, but unless embarrassment and shame are imminent I will not work on anything official during my leisure hours. Embarrassment and shame became imminent at choir practice last week when I realized that, with only one rehearsal left until our concert this Sunday, I was really struggling with the rhythms and text in Misa Criolla, a very cool South American mass. I came home a bit frustrated and The Swede said the perfect thing, as usual: "Mara, it's just like you always say to Jamie. It'll be fine, you just need to practice." So I sat down with the music, a nice, slow recording on YouTube, a set of headphones, and a pen and got down to business. Yesterday's rehearsal went a million times better because of it and by Sunday, with a little more practice, I should be ready to perform something I can hold my head up over.
As of yesterday afternoon, Swedish football season is over, which means that we get The Swede back on the weekends, at least until the lakes freeze over and ice-fishing season begins. We celebrated by checking out a monster truck that The Swede knew would be parked outside a local home-improvement warehouse and feeding ducks. They were simple adventures, but Jamie had a blast and, truth be told, so did I. It's the little things.